Once more, in the 17th verse the apostle teaches the same truth, only altering the language somewhat.  It is very curious how, for five consecutive verses, the apostle teaches the exact same doctrine of federal headship by contrasting Adam and his constituency with Christ and His constituency.  He states it in five different ways, but is always holding forth the precise same truth: condemnation in Adam, and justification in Christ.  The fact that he would state the same truth five times in a row strongly indicates just how important Paul believed the doctrine of federal headship to be.  It is no exaggeration to say that a failure to grasp the truth of this doctrine, with its vastly important implications, will cause one to err seriously in his understanding of the entire Gospel scheme.


In verse 17, he shows that it was through Adam that death came into the world, and that the sentence of death was passed upon him and all his descendants.  Death had no place in the world which God created very good, for death is a defect and a fault, not a natural part of the created order.  It can never be anything but the consequence of sin, and so long as there was no sin in the world, there could be no death.  But once Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, death came in as a mighty monarch, and continues to exercise his terrible dominion over the children of men.  All who remain under Adam’s headship remain not only under the penalty of bodily death, but are also subject to the second death.  The only escape from this final and most terrible penalty is through faith in Christ; and it is to this second death our Lord had reference when He said, “He that believeth in Me shall never die.”