The section consists of two verses which highlights on, “the law, sin, and grace” (verse 20) and, “grace, righteousness, and eternal life” (verse 21). This section shades light on the victory of grace over the law and sin.
Moo (1996) agrees with Herrick (n.d.) that the exposition and exegesis of Roman 5: 12-21 has a number of difficulties and questions which have been found to be quite challenging. Both of the authors argue that the way verse twelve started indicates some transition from a kind of claim to a conclusion being made. This has made the portion of the text covered between verses 12 to 21 to be treated as conclusion of what Paul was talking about early in the chapter. Herrick (n.d.) argues that basing on this assumption there is a smooth connection between the early part of chapter five which consists of verses 1 to 11 and the second part of the chapter consisting of verses 12 to 21. According to Herrick (n.d.), “since Christians have been completely delivered from God’s wrath (5:1-11), Christ must have completely overturned the effects of Adam’s sin (5:12-21)” Moo (1996) goes an extra mile to be more specific and quotes a preceding paragraph (verses 2b, 9-10) which teaches about the, “the assurance of final salvations.” Herrick (n.d.) also notes the use of “just as” which is a word implying some kind of comparison. Moo (1996) explains more on this by claiming that the author expands on the sin of Adam and finally makes ascertains that, “Adam is a type of Christ” on verse 14.
Herrick claims that the word sin as used by Paul does not really indicate a specific acts of sin but rather, “the principles of sin that is, the ruling power of sin to which all human beings (i.e., the world) are subject and which leads to death.” Herrick bring up the use of the phrase, “because all sinned.” Paul uses the expressions, “all die because of the sin of Adam” and, “all die because all sinned.” According to Herrick (n.d.), in this context the following need clarifications:
Herrick (n.d.) starts by dealing with because (ejf* w|/, eph’ ho) as a word and claims it could be translated as “in whom” or “in which.” If the first meaning is taken then it will implicate that all men have sinned in Adam. If the second meaning is taken then:
The referent is “death” and the point is that “in death” all sinned. We could also take the phrase as “because of whom.” This would mean, then, that all sinned “because of Adam.” The problem which besets these three views is that the available evidence suggests that Paul means “because” when he uses the phrase eph’ ho, not “in which,” “in whom,” or “because of whom.” This is the case in 2 Cor 5:4, Phil 3:12 (but cf. Phil 4:10), and other Greek literature where the two words function together as a conjunction indicating cause (i.e., “because”).
Further Herrick argues by posing the question, “If eph’ ho means “because,” what, then, does “all sinned” mean?” Then claims that there are some views that this means that all men sin in what he refers to as “in and themselves” and because of that they end up dying. This argument shows no connection between the sin of Adam and the human race. Other views however suggest that the connection which exists is external and as Adam functions as an example. Herrick (n.d.) however argues that if these views are taken then a connection of the passage fails especially on verses 18-19.
Herrick then counters that the above arguments by claiming that the comparison which has been inherent throughout this passage will not hold or make any meaning they are to be true. According to the above arguments if a man sins out of his own will then he can as well become righteous through his won will which brings into conflict the claims of Paul that righteousness is a gift. Further, Herrick argues that it will be quite strange that if, “all men are sinners” then that implies that literary every single person chose to rebel. The best explanation to this argument is that, “all men are born subject to another law, than that each had their own personal fall into sin” there are various verses which opposes the arguments presented above by relating sin directly to Adam which makes it hard for one to argue that sin is not related to Adam.
It should not be taken that we die because of Adam’s sin as such nor should it taken that we are sinners because sins come from within us. Then what will be the correct nature of the explanation of this passage. Herrick (n.d.) argues that the correct nature is to, “see a connection between the sin of Adam and that of the race” The nature of the connection has been argued to be of two types direct or mediate. Through the mediate connection it is argued that, “all men sinned because they received a corrupt nature from Adam” and some verses creates room for such interpretation. However Herrick argues that “through” could just mean, “a direct connection between Adam’s sin and the condemnation of the race.” Verse 18 however offers a solution to this by claiming that condemnation was passed down through the sin of one person. The connection as result can be favorably viewed as direct as opposed to mediate.
The phrase –all have sinned, indicates some kind of corporate activity. When Adam was sinning we at the present participated and that is why sinned is used sin to indicate present. This therefore shows that indeed there a universal death is due to Adam’s transgression. This death can only be brought to an alt by Christ. Through his death on the cross, we have a direct salvation from the condemnation.
This passage brings into light the facts that all mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but all has been amended through Christ who died on the cross. The passage brings in more understanding to the origin of sin and that as far as mankind is concern all have sinned but have a chance of being righteous through Christ.