Romans 5 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Romans 5
Pulpit Commentary
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Verses 1-21. - (6) The results of the revelation of the righteousness of God, as affecting

(a) the consciousness and hopes of believers;

(b) the position of mankind before God. Verses 1-11. - (a) As to the consciousness of individual believers. Verse 1. - Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of the ἔχομεν of the Textus Receptus, an overwhelming preponderance of authority, including uncials, versions, and Fathers, supports ἔχωμεν ("let us have"). If this be the true reading, the expression must be intended as hortatory, meaning, apparently, "Let us appreciate and realize our peace with God which we have in being justified by faith." But hortation here does not appear in keeping with what follows, in which the results of our being justified by faith are described in terms clearly, corresponding with the idea of our having peace with God. The passage as a whole is not hortatory, but descriptive, and "we have peace" comes in naturally as an initiatory statement of what is afterwards carried out. This being the case, it is a question whether an exception may not be allowed in this case to the usually sound rule of bowing to decided preponderance of authority with respect to readings. That ἔχωμεν was an early and widely accepted reading there can be no doubt; but still it may not have been the original one, the other appearing more probable. Scrivener is of opinion that "the itacism of ω for ο, so familiar to all collators of Greek manuscripts, crept into some very early copy, from which it was propagated among our most venerable codices, even those from which the earliest versions were made."
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Verse 2. - Through whom also we have (rather, have had - ἐδχήκαμεν ( ρεφερρινγ το the past time of conversion and baptism, but with the idea of continuance expressed by the perfect) the (or, our) access by faith (the words, "by faith," which are not required, are absent from many manuscripts) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice (properly, glory, καυχώμεθα, the same word as in the following verse, and most usually so rendered elsewhere, though sometimes by "boast." Our translators seem in this verse to have departed from their usual rendering because of the substantive "glory," in a different sense, which follows) in hope of the glory of God. Προσαγωγὴ (translated "access") occurs in the same sense in Ephesians 2:18 and Ephesians 3:12; in both cases, as here, with the article, so as to denote some well-known access or approach. It means the access to the holy God, which had been barred by sin, but which has been opened to us through Christ (cf. Hebrews 10:19). It is a question whether εἰς τὴν χάριν is properly taken (as in the Authorized Version) in immediate connection with προσαγωγὴν, as denoting that into which we have our access. In Ephesians 2:18 the word is followed by the more suitable preposition πρὸς, the phrase being, "access to the Father;" and this may be understood here, the sense being, "We have through Christ our access (to the Father) unto (ie. so as to result in) the state of grace and acceptance in which we now stand." As to "the glory of God," see above on Romans 3:23. Here our hoped-for future participation in the Divine glory is more distinctly intimated by the words, ἐπ ἐλπίδι. This last phrase bears the same sense as in 1 Corinthians 9:10, and probably in Romans 4:18 above. It does not mean that hope is that wherein we glory, but that, being in a state of hope, we glory.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Verses 3-5. - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (or, our tribulations) also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which is given to us. The peace, the joy, the hope, that come of faith might be supposed unable to stand against the facts of this present life, in which, to those first believers, only peculiar tribulations might seem to follow from their faith. Not so, says the apostle; nay, their very tribulations tend to confirm our hope, and so even in them we also glory. For we perceive how they serve for our probation now: they test our endurance; and proved endurance increases hope. And this hope does not shame us in the end, as being baseless and without fulfilment; for our inward experience of the love of God assures us of the contrary, and keeps it ever alive. The word δοκιμὴ ("experience," Authorized Version) means properly "proof," and is so translated elsewhere. The idea is that tribulations test, and endurance under them proves, the genuineness of faith; and approved faithfulness strengthens hope (cf. Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13, "He that endureth (ὑπομείνας, corresponding to ὑπομονὴν here) to the end, the same shall be saved "). By "the love of God" is meant rather God's love to us than ours to God. What follows in explanation requires this sense. Of course, it kindles answering love in ourselves (cf. "We love God, because he first loved us"); but the idea here is that of God's own love, the sense of which we experience, flooding our hearts with itself through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It may be observed that, though assurance of the fulfilment of our hope is here made to rest on inward feeling, yet this is legitimately convincing to those who do so feel. As in many other matters, so especially in religion, it is internal consciousness that carries the strongest conviction with it, and induces certitude. The verses that come next set forth the grounds of our sense of God's exceeding love to us.
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Verses 6, 7. - For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet (literally,for) peradventure for the good man some would even dare to die. The general purport of ver. 7 is obvious, viz. to show how Christ's death for the ungodly transcends all human instances of self-sacrifice for others. But the exact import of the language used is not equally plain. That of the first clause, indeed, and its connection with what precedes, presents no difficulty. The meaning is that Christ's dying for the ungodly is a proof of love beyond what is common among men. The second clause seems to be added as a concession of what some men may perhaps sometimes be capable cf. It is introduced by a second γὰρ (this being the reading of all the manuscripts), which may be meant as exceptive, "I do not press this without exception," being understood. So Alford; and in this case the "yet" of the Authorized Version, or though, may give its meaning. Or it may be connected with μόλις, thus: "Scarcely, I say, for there may possibly be cases," etc. But what is the distinction between δικαίου in the first clause and τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ in the second? Some interpreters say that there is none, the intention being simply to express the possibility of human self-sacrifice for one that is good or righteous in some rare cases. But the change of the word, which would, according to this view, be purposeless, and still more the insertion of the article before ἀγαθοῦ, forbids this interpretation. One view is that τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ is neuter, meaning that, though for a righteous individual one can hardly be found to be willing to die, yet for the cause of good, for what a man regards as the highest good, or pro bone publico (it might be), such self-sacrifice may be possible; This view is tenable, though against it is the fact that death in behalf of persons is being spoken of all along. The remaining and most commonly accepted view is that by "the good man" (the article pointing him out generally as a well-known type of character) is meant the beneficent - one who inspires attachment and devotion - as opposed to one who is merely just. Cicero ('De Off.,' 3:15) is quoted in support of this distinction between the words: "Si vir bonus is est qui prodest quibus potest, nemini nocet, recte justum virum, bonum non facile reperiemus." Tholuck quotes, as a Greek instance, Κῦρον ἀνακαλοῦντες τὸν εὐεργέτην τὸν ἄνδρα τὸν ἀγαθόν (AElian, 'Var. Histor.,' 3:17). Possibly the term ὁ ἀγαθὸς would have a well-understood meaning to the readers of the Epistle, which is not equally obvious to us.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Verse 8. - But God commendeth his own love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The emphatic "his own" is lost sight of in the Authorized Version. It is not in contrast to our love to God, but expressive of the thought that the love of God himself towards men was displayed in the death of Christ. This is important for our true conception of the light in which the mysterious doctrine of the atonement is regarded in Holy Scripture. It is not (as represented by some schools of theologians) that the Son, considered apart from the Father, offered himself to appease his wrath - as seems to be expressed in the lines, "Actus in crucem factus es Irato Deo victima" - but rather that the Divine love itself purposed from eternity and provided the atonement, all the Persons of the holy and undivided Trinity concurring to effect it (cf. Romans 3:24; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16: John 3:16; 1 John 4:10, et al.). If it be asked how this Divine love, displayed in the atonement, and therefore previous to it, is consistent with what is elsewhere so continually said of the Divine wrath, we answer that the ideas are not irreconcilable. The wrath expresses God's necessary antagonism to sin, and the retribution due to it, inseparable from a true conception of the Divine righteousness; and as long as men arc under the dominion of sin they are of necessity involved in it: But this is not inconsistent with ever-abiding Divine love towards the persons of sinners, or with an eternal purpose to redeem them. It may be added here that the passage Before us intimates our Lord's essential Deity; for his sacrifice of himself is spoken of as the display of God's own love.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Verses 9, 10. - Much more then, being now justified by (literally, in) his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by (literally, in) his life. In these verses, the second being an amplification of the first, our relations to God are set forth, as before, by the analogy of such as may subsist between man and man. Men do not usually die for their enemies, but they do seek the good of their friends. If, then, God's superhuman love reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son when we were still his enemies, what assurance may we not now feel, being no longer at enmity, of being saved from the wrath (τῆς ὀργῆς, ver. 9) to which, as sinners and enemies, we were exposed! There is also a significance (ver. 10)in the words "death" and "life." Christ's death was for atonement, and in it we are conceived as having died with him to our former state of alienation from God. His resurrection was the inauguration of a new life to God, in which with him we live (cf. Romans 6:3, et seqq.). The words "enemies" (ἀχθροὶ) and "reconciled" (καταλλάγημεν, καταλλαγέντες) invite attention. Does the former word imply mutual enmity, or only that we were God's enemies? We may answer that, though we cannot attribute enmity in its proper human sense to God, or properly speak of him as under any circumstances the enemy of man, yet the expression might perhaps be used with regard to him in the way of accommodation to human ideas, as are anger, jealousy, and the like. There seems, however, to be no necessity for this conception here, the idea being rather that of man's alienation from God, and from peace with him, through sin; as in Colossians 1:21, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works." So Theoderet interprets: Οἱ ἐχθροὶ δὴ τῶν ἐντολῶν αῖς μηδὲ ὑποκηκόασι γενόμενοι ὥσπερ φίλοι οἱ ὑπακηκοότες. So too, Clem. Alex., 'Strom.,' 1. 3.: Καὶ μή τε καθὰπεο ἐπὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐδενὶ μὲν ἀντικεισθαι, λέγομεν τὸν Θεὸν οὐδε ἐχθρὸν εῖναι τινός πάντων γὰρ κτίστης καὶ οὐδεν ἐστι τῶν ὑποστάντων ο{ μὴ θέλει. Φαμὲν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐχθροὺς εϊναι τοὺς ἀπειθεῖς καὶ μὴ κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ πορευομένους. With regard to reconciled," it may be first observed that, however orthodox and capable of a true sense it may be to speak of God being reconciled to man through Christ (as in Art. 2, "to reconcile his Father to us"), the expression is not scriptural. It is always man who is said to be reconciled to God; and it is God who, in Christ, reconciles the world unto himself (2 Corinthians 5:19; cf. also Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20, 21). Still, mere is evidently implied than that God reconciles men to himself by changing their hearts and converting them from sin by the manifestation of his love in Christ. The reconciliation is spoken of as effected once for all for all mankind in the atonement, independently of, and previously to, the conversion of believers. Faith only appropriates, and obedience testifies, the appropriation of an accomplished reconciliation available for all mankind. That such is the view in the passage before us is distinctly evident from all that follows after ver. 12.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Verse 11. And not only so, but we also glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. We not only have an assured hope; we also glory already in our restoration to peace with God; our mental state is an exultant one even now. A tacit reference may be supposed to Romans 3:27 and Romans 4:2, where all human glorying was said to be shut out. Yes, this remains true - in ourselves we cannot glory; but in God, who has reconciled us, we can and do. It is to be observed that neither this nor other passages (such as Romans 8:30, seq.), where an exultant assurance of salvation is expressed, justify the doctrine of assurance, as sometimes understood; viz. in the sense that an individual believer may and ought to feel certain of his own final salvation, on the ground of having once been justified. The condition of continued faithfulness is all along implied (cf., among other texts, 1 Corinthians 9:27; Hebrews 6:4, etc.; Hebrews 10:26, etc.).
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Verses 12-21. - (b) From consideration of the blessed effects on believers of faith in the reconciliation through Christ, the apostle now passes to the effects of that reconciliation as the position of the whole human race before God. His drift is that the reconciliation corresponds to the original transgression; both proceeded from one, and both include all mankind in their results; as the one introduced sin into the world, and, as its consequence, death, so the other introduced righteousness, and, as its consequence, life. It may be observed that in ch. 1 also he has in one sense traced sin backward through the past ages, so as to show how all mankind had come to be under condemnation for it. But the subject was regarded from a different point of view, the purpose of the argument being also different. There he was addressing the heathen world, his purpose being to convince the whole of it of sin, on the score of obvious culpability; and, suitably to this design, his argument is based, not on Scripture, but on observation of the facts of human nature and human history. It did not fall within his scope to trace the evil to its original cause. But here, having shown Jew and Gentile to be on the same footing with respect to sin, and having entered (at Romans 3:21) on the doctrinal portion of his Epistle, he goes to Scripture for the origin of the evil, and finds it there attributed to Adam's original transgression, which implicated the human race as an organic whole. This is the scriptural solution of the mystery, which he here gives, not only as accounting for things being as they are, but also, in connection with the stage of the argument at which he has now arrived, as explaining the necessity and the purpose of the atonement for the whole guilty race, effected by the second Adam, Christ. Verse 12. - Wherefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all sinned. To this sentence, introduced by ὥσπερ, there is no apodosis. One has been sought in the course of what follows, and by some found in ver. 18. But ver. 18 is a recapitulation rather than resumption of the argument, and is, further, too far removed to be intended as a formal apodesis. It is not really necessary to find one. The natural one to the first clause of the sentence would have been, "So through One righteousness entered into the world, and life through righteousness;" and such may be supposed to have been in the writer's mind. But, after his manner, he goes off to enlarge on the idea expressed in the second clause, and never formally completes his sentence. A similar anacoluthon is found in 1 Timothy 1:3. Sin is here, as elsewhere, regarded as a power antagonistic to God, which has been introduced into the world of man, working and manifesting itself in concrete human sin (cf. Romans 5:21; Romans 6:12, 14; Romans 7:8, 9, 17). Its ultimate origin is not explained. Scripture offers no solution of the old insoluble problem, κόθεν τὸ κακὸν: its existence at all under the sway of the Omnipotent Goodness in which we believe is one of the deep mysteries that have ever baffled human reason. All that is here touched on is its entrance into the world of man, the word εἰσῆλθε implying that it already existed beyond this mundane sphere. The reference is, of course, to Gem fit., as the scriptural account of the beginning of sin in our own world. It is there attributed to "the serpent," whom we regard as a symbol of some mysterious power of evil, external to man, to which primeval man, in the exercise of his prerogative of free-will, succumbed, and so let sin in. Through sin entered also death as its consequence; which (primarily at least) must mean here physical death, this being all that is denoted in Genesis (comp. Genesis 3:19 with Gen 2:17), and necessary to be understood in what follows in the chapter before us (see ver. 14). But here a difficulty presents itself to modern thought. Are we to understand that man was originally so constituted as not to die? - that even his bodily organization was immortal, and would have continued so but for the fatal taint of sin? We find it difficult at the present day to conceive this, however bound we may feel to submit our reason to revelation in a matter so remote, so unknown, and so mysterious as the beginning of human life on the earth, in whatever aspect viewed, and indeed of all conscious life, must ever be. But St. Paul himself, in another place, speaks of "the first man" having been, even on his first creation, "of the earth, earthy" (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47), with a body, like ours, of" flesh and blood," in its own nature corruptible (1 Corinthians 15:50). Neither is the narrative of Genesis 3. inconsistent with this idea. For it seems to imply that, but for his eating of the mystical "tree of life" (whatever may be meant by it), the first man was in his own nature mortal, and that his liability to death ensued on his being debarred from it (Genesis 3:22). It may be impossible for us to understand or explain. The following considerations, however, may perhaps help us in some degree.

(1) When we pay regard to man's spiritual capabilities and aspirations, even as he is now, death does seem to us an anomaly - a contradiction to the ideal of his inner self. That a beast of the field should die appears to us no such anomaly; for it has done all that it seems to have been meant to do, or to be capable of doing: it has served as a link in the continuance of its kind, not having been conscious, as far as we know, of anything beyond its surroundings. But man (i.e. man as he is capable of being, so as to represent the capacity of humanity) connects himself in his inner self with eternity; his mind resents the idea of death, as an unwelcome stoppage to its development and its yearnings. It goes on ever maturing its power, enlarging its range, thirsting for higher knowledge, entertaining affections that seem eternal; and then bodily decay and death arrest its progress as it were in mid-career. Thus death, as it comes to us and affects us now, seems to involve a contradiction between man's inner consciousness and the facts of his existence at present; it is shrunk from as something that ought not to be. It is true that, when faith has once grasped the idea of bodily death being but a transition to a better life, the anomaly disappears: but such is its aspect to the natural man: and thus we can enter into the scriptural idea of death, as it comes to us so inevitably now, being something not originally meant for man, though we may be unable to say how it would have been with him had not sin entered.

(2) Though physical death, obvious to men's eyes, and not spiritual death of the soul either in this world or in the world to come, is here evidently in view (see ver. 14), yet we must bear in mind the general idea associated with the word "death" in the New Testament. It is sometimes used so as to imply more than the mere parting of the soul from the body, including in the conception of what it is all the woes and infirmities that flesh is heir to, which are its precursors in the present state of things (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 12, 16; 2 Corinthians 6:9), being thus regarded also as the visible sign before our eyes of man's present alienation from the life that is in God. St. Paul, then, in the passage before us, though alleging mere natural death as sufficient evidence of sin, may be conceived as having in his view Death armed as he has been with a peculiar sting to man through all known time. The main point of his argument is that the doom recorded in Genesis as having been pronounced on Adam had obviously remained in force throughout the ages; and there is surely no difficulty in assenting to the position that the dominion of death, as it has been exercised since that doom, is evidence of its continuance, and consequently of sin. "For that all sinned" (more correctly so than, as in the Authorized Version, "all have sinned") seems to mean, not that all since Adam in their own persons committed sin, but that all sinned in him - were implicated in the sin of the progenitor (cf. ver. 15; also 1 Corinthians 15:22, "in Adam all die;" and 2 Corinthians 5:14, where all are said to have died to sin in the death of Christ). The doctrine of original, as distinct from actual, sin, thus intimated, has been, as is well known, the subject of much controversy since the time of Pelagius. It does not fall within the proper scope of this Commentary to discuss the theories of divines, but rather to set forth candidly what the language of the portions of Scripture commented on in itself most obviously means, viewed in the light afforded by general Scripture teaching. With respect to the passage before us, it may suffice to say:

(1) That more must be understood than the mere imputation of Adam's transgression to his descendants, irrespectively of any guilt of theirs. This notion, which jars on our conception of Divine justice, is precluded by the entire drift of the earlier chapters of this Epistle, which was the actual culpability of mankind at large, and also by what follows here, sin itself being spoken of - not the imputation of it only - as being in the world after Adam, and universal too, as evidenced by the continued reign of death. All men are said to have sinned in the sin of the first transgressor, because sin was thus introduced, as a power in human nature antagonistic to God, and because this "infection of nature" has continued since. And thus

(2) the Pelagian position is also precluded, according to which "original sin standeth (only) in the following of Adam" (Art. 9.), i.e. in actual imitation of his sin, which man is supposed to have still, as Adam had, the power to avoid. For it is expressly said (ver. 14) that death reigned over - in proof that sin infected - even those who had not sinned after the similitude of his transgression. But

(3) we must guard against confusion between the idea of man's natural liability to condemnation on the ground of transmitted sinfulness, and that of God's actual dealing with him. It is nowhere said or implied that the natural infection which they could not help will be visited on individuals in the final judgment. All that is insisted on by St. Paul is that man, in himself, as he is now, falls short of the glory of God, and cannot put in a plea for acceptance on the ground of his own righteousness. But he no less emphatically declares that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Verses 13, 14. - For until Law (i.e. all through the time previous to the revelation of law) sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Though νόμος, where it first occurs in ver. 13, refers definitely, as appears from the context, to the Law of Moses, yet it is without the article, as denoting the principle of law, of which the Mosaic code was the embodiment; and it has therefore, in accordance with the rule laid down in this translation, been rendered as above. The purport of these two verses, connected by γὰρ with πάντες η{μαρτον of ver. 12, is to prove that the primeval sin did really infect and implicate the whole race of mankind. It might be supposed that those only would be implicated who had themselves transgressed, as Adam did, a known command; it being an acknowledged principle of Divine justice that only sin against law of which the sinner is conscious is imputed to him for con-detonation (cf. Romans 4:15; also John 9:41). Nay. but the universal dominion of death, the doom of sin, over all alike, whether or not they had themselves so sinned, was proof that sin was all along dominant in the world, infecting all. The Mosaic Law is spoken of as the distinct revelation of Divine Law to man; and therefore attention is first drawn to the fact that before that revelation, no less than after it, death had reigned over all. But is it thus implied that until the Law from Mount Sinai men had been without any kind of law, for transgressing which they were responsible? Not so. That Law is indeed regarded as the first definite enunciation of law under evident Divine sanction, after which, to those that were under it, sin became indubitably and exceeding sinful; but that men are conceived as having sinned previously against law of some kind, appears from the phrase, "Even over those (καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς) who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," i.e. consciously against a known command. This surely implies that some had so sinned; and thus the essential point of the argument is that even over those who had not so sinned (such as the unenlightened and invincibly ignorant, or persons dying in infancy) death had equally reigned. Who is the figure of him that was to come. This is added so as to bring round the thought to the main subject of the chapter, viz. the reconciliation of all mankind through Christ, to which the scriptural account of the condemnation of all mankind through Adam had, at ver. 12, been adduced as analogous. Who refers to Adam, who has just been for the first time named; he that was to come is Christ, who is called, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, "the last Adam." Adam was a type (τύπος) of Christ in that both represented entire humanity; one as the representative and author of fallen, the other of restored, humanity - the transgression of the one and the obedience of the other alike affecting all (see vers 18, 19). But there is a difference between the two cases; and this is pointed out in vers. 15, 16, 17, which follow.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Verses 15-17. - But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died (not, be dead, as in the Authorized Version. Observe also the articles before "one" and "many"), much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many. And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was of one (ἐξ ἑνὸς) unto condemnation, but the free gift is of (ἐκ) many offences unto justification. For if by the offence of the one death reigned through the one, much more they which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. The purport of these verses is (while keeping up the view of condemnation and justification being both derived to all from one) to show how the effects of the latter for good far transcend those of the former for evil. It is not easy, however, to explain the apostle's exact intention in the contrasts which he draws. He seems to have written, after his manner, full of ideas which he did not linger to arrange in clear form. In ver. 15 the contrast between "trespass" (παράπτωμα) and "free gift" (χάρισμα) seems to be the leading idea. The suggesting thought seems to be - If (as has been shown) one man's trespass had such far-reaching effects, much more must the grace of God (displayed also in One) have no less far-reaching effects. God's grace must be more powerful than man's trespass. And it is here asserted that it was so. The much more (πολλῷ μᾶλλον) is best taken (as it must be in ver. 17) in a logical, not a quantitative sense; i.e. as enforcing the conclusion, not as intensifying the verb "abounded." So far the effects are not distinctly contrasted in respect to their extent; all that is implied in this verse is that both reach to the many (οἱ πολλοὶ), i.e. the whole human race collectively; unless, indeed, the verb ἐπερίσσευσε implies excess of effect. It is to be observed that the phrase οἱ πολλοὶ does not here mean, as is usual in classical Greek, the greater part, but the multitude, mankind being regarded collectively. It depends, however, on the writer's mental horizon whether the phrase, taken by itself, is to be understood as comprehending all. The consideration is of importance in the case before us. On the one hand, it may be contended that, in the first clause of the verse, "the many" must mean all, for that undoubtedly all died (cf. ver. 12, εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὁ θάνατος διῆλθεν), and that consequently all must be intended also in the second clause. So also in ver. 19, where it is said that δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται οἱ πολλοὶ. And it may be said, further, that the drift of the whole argument requires the view of the effects of the re- demption being at least coextensive with the effects of the fall. But, on the other hand, it is argued that St. Paul would not have used the phrase οἱ πολλοὶ in vers. 15 and 19 instead of πάντες as in vers. 12 and 18, unless he had intended some difference of meaning, and that he varied his expression in order to avoid the necessary inference that all would be saved in fact. Certainly he teaches that the redemption is available and intended for all, as in ver. 18 where it is said to be εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, εἰς δικαίωσιν; and this, it may be said, is enough to satisfy the view of its effects (i.e. in purpose and potentially) being coextensive with the effects of the fall But it does not seem to follow that man's resistance to grace might not come in as a bar to the entire fulfilment of the Divine purpose; and hence these passages cannot be pressed as conclusive for the doctrine of universal final salvation. But in vers. 16, 17 (to be taken together, ver. 16 being introduced by καὶ, so as to suggest a new idea, and ver. 17 being connected with it by γὰρ) the extent to which grace thus abounded, so as to transcend the effects of the original transgression, is distinctly set forth. The thought of these verses may, perhaps, be expressed otherwise, thus: The one trespass of the one original transgressor did indeed render all mankind liable to condemnation; but the free gift in Christ annulled the effect, not only of that one trespass, but also of all subsequent trespasses of mankind; an immense debt, accumulating through the ages of human history, in addition to the original debt, was by that one free grant obliterated. And further, while the original trespass introduced a temporary reign of death, the free gift of righteousness introduced life, in which the partakers of the gift themselves - triumphant over Death, who reigned before - shall reign; and, as in ver. 15 the idea was that God's grace must be more powerful than man's sin, so here it is implied that life in Christ must be more powerful than death in Adam. Life means here (as elsewhere when the life in Christ is spoken of) more than the present life in the flesh - more than the life breathed into. man when he first "became (ἐγένετο εἰς) a living soul" (1 Corinthians 15:45). It means the higher life imparted by "the last Adam," who "became a quickening Spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45); eternal life with God, in the life of Christ risen, swallowing up mortality (2 Corinthians 5:4; cf. also John 11:25). Thus the "free gift" not only reverses the far-reaching effects of the original transgression, but even transcends what is intimated in Genesis as given to man in Paradise before his fall. The next two verses (18, 19), introduced by ἄρα οῦν, are a summing up of what has been already said or implied.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Verse 18. - So then, as through one trespass (rather so than "by the offence of one," as in the Authorized Version) the judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, so also through one act of righteousness (so Revised Version. The expression is δἰ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος, contrasted with the preceding δἰ ἑνὸς παραπτωματος) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, i.e. conferring life. "Declaratio Divina ilia, qua peccator, mortis reus, vitae adjudicatur, idque jure" (Bengel). Here, as was observed under ver. 15, the phrase used is εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, not εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς, thus indisputably denoting universality of effect, as of the παράπτωμα, so also of δικαίωμα. But there is no verb to make clear the force of the preposition εἰς. It may denote the result to which a cause tends, without implying its inevitable accomplishment. Thus (Romans 7:10), Αὐρέθη μοι ἡ ἐντολὴ ἡ εἰς ζωὴν, αὕτη εἰς θάνατον, where the same preposition expresses both the intended result of life and the actual result of death.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Verse 19. - For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous. As to the significance of οἱ πολλοὶ, see under ver. 15. The phrase, if taken as equivalent to πάντες, would seem here to imply even more than in ver. 15; for there it was only said that "the gift... abounded unto the many;" here an actual result is expressed by the future, δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται. But even so the universality of final salvation need not necessarily follow. The phrase is, "shall be constituted righteous," and might only mean that all will be put into the position of justified persons, capable as such of salvation, just as all had, through the first transgression, been put into the position of sinners, liable as such to condemnation; and the future tense might be taken to denote the continuance, through all future ages, of the availing effect of the accomplished atonement. Further, it may be remarked that if universal final salvation did seem to follow from the passage before us, it would still have to be understood consistently with the purport of ch. 6, 7, and 8, which follow. In them the practical result to the believer of his justification through Christ is treated; and renunciation of sin, "living after the Spirit," is postulated as the condition for attaining the life eternal. Hence, if the doctrine of "eternal hope" be sound (and who can fail to desire that it should be so?), it must be to some unknown reconciliation beyond the limits of the present life that we must look in the case of those who have not fulfilled the necessary conditions here. Thus, further, the doctrine cannot legitimately be allowed to affect our view of our responsibilities now. To us the only doctrine distinctly revealed on the subject of salvation is that it is in this present life that we are to make our "calling and election sure." Two ways are put before us - the way of life, and the way of death; the one leading to ζωὴ αἰώνιος, the other to κόλασις αἰώνιος. In vers. 6-10 (as elsewhere, see note on Romans 3:25) it was through the death, the blood, of Christ that we were said to have been reconciled to God; here it is through his obedience, opposed to the disobedience of Adam. Though the doctrine of the atonement, in all its depth, is beyond our comprehension now (see above on ver. 9), yet it is important for us to observe the various aspects in which it is presented to us in Scripture. Here the idea suggested is that of Christ, as the Representative of humanity, satisfying Divine righteousness by perfect obedience to the Divine will, and thus offering to God for man what man had lest the power of offering (cf. Psalm 40:10, "Lo, I come to fulfil thy will, O my God;" and Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:9, et seq.; also Philippians 2:8, "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross").
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Verses 20, 21. - Moreover Law entered (rather, came in besides), that the trespass might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (or, did abound exceedingly): that as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here νόμος (though without the article; see under ver. 13) refers to the Mosaic Law, the purpose of which in the economy of redemption is thus intimated, so as to complete the view. It was God's purpose from the first that grace should in the end triumph over sin; but in the mean time law came in (cf. προσετέθη in the cognate passage, Galatians 3:19). For what end? Not in itself to accomplish the purpose, not to interfere with its accomplishment, but as an intervening dispensation to prepare for its accomplishment, by convincing of sin, and making it exceeding sinful, and so establishing the need of, and exciting a craving for, redemption. This intervening preparatory office of the Mosaic Law is set forth more at length in Galatians 3:19-26; and the working of the principle of law to this end in the human consciousness is analyzed in ch. 7. of this Epistle. Additional Note on ver.12The significance of the words "life" and "death," as used in St. Paul's Epistles and elsewhere, demands peculiar attention. They evidently bear a sense in many places different from that of ordinary use; and this in accordance with our Lord's own recorded language, as, for instance, in his memorable words to Martha, given in John 11:25, 26. The following considerations may aid our comprehension of what is meant. The mysterious principle or potency of life, even in the common acceptation of the term, varies not only in degree, but in kind; and the same living organism may be at the same time alive with respect to its own mode of vitality, and dead with respect to some higher one which vivifies others. The plant, while alive with respect to its own kind of life, is dead to the higher life of sentient beings. The brute beast, while alive with respect to mere animal life, is dead, as it were, to the higher life of intelligent man. A whole world of environing influences to which the mind of man responds, so as to live in them, are to the brute as nothing; it may be said to be dead to them. Now, Scripture teaches, and we believe, that there is a spiritual sphere of things above and beyond this visible sphere, which man is capable of apprehending, being influenced by, and living a still higher life than his natural life therein. He is thus capable through the higher and diviner part of his mysterious being, called by St. Paul his πνεῦμα (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα), when in touch with the Divine πνεῦμα. For man to be in vital correspondence with his spiritual environments is spiritual life; to be out of correspondence with them is spiritual death. And so, as the plant is dead to sentient life, though alive in its own life; or as the brute may be said to be dead to the higher life of man, though alive in mere animal life; so man may be dead as to spiritual life, though alive as to psychical life; and thus "dead while he liveth" (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The natural man (ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In other words, he is dead to them). Further, this spiritual life, unlike the psychical life, is ever spoken of as eternal. For it consists in intercommunion of man's immortal part with the spiritual sphere of things which is eternal. Nor does natural death interrupt it; for it is not dependent for its continuance, as is psychical life, on environments from which we are severed by the body's death, but on such as are eternal. Thus, too, we see how it is that eternal life is regarded, not as one that will have its commencement after death, but as one to be enjoyed at present, and to which we are to rise in Christ even now. This idea is notably expressed in our Lord's words above referred to: "I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25, 26). Doubtless we are bidden to look forward to a fulness and perfection of the eternal life, of which our present enjoyment of it is but an earnest, in the σῶμα πνευματικόν (1 Corinthians 15:44) in store for us hereafter - cf. "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet manifested what we shall be," etc. (1 John 3:2) - but still this is regarded as but the consummation of a life already begun. On the other hand, whatever penal consequences of a state of spiritual death may be spoken of as in store hereafter for the wicked, it is regarded as being itself but the continuance of a state of death in which they are before they pass away (cf. Revelation 22:11). In Romans 5:12, etc., to which this note refers, the above view of what is often meant by "death" ought to be kept before us. For, though the apostle seems evidently to be speaking of the natural death that comes to all, he must be taken as regarding it as but the symbol and evidence of the sway of that spiritual death to which all men are now, in their fallen nature, liable. The thoughts embodied in the above note have been derived from, or suggested by, 'Natural Law in the Spiritual World,' by Henry Drummond, F.R.S.E., F.G.S. (Hodder and Stoughton: 1888).

That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
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