Romans 5:15
But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.
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(15) Now comes the statement of the contrast which extends over the next five verses. The points of difference are thrown into relief by the points of resemblance. These may be, perhaps, best presented by the subjoined scheme:—

Persons of the action.

One man, Adam.

One Man, Christ.

The action.

One act of trespass.

One act of obedience.

Character of the action viewed in its relation to the Fall and Salvation of man.

The great initial trespass or breach of the law of God.

The great accomplished work of grace, or the gift of righteousness.

Persons affected by the action.

All mankind.

All mankind.

Proximate effect of the action.

Influx of many transgressions.

Clearing away of many transgressions.

Ulterior effect of the action.



The offence.—Perhaps rather, trespass, to bring out the latent antithesis to the obedience of Christ. (Ellicott.)

One . . . many.—Substitute throughout this passage, “the one,” “the many.” By “the many,” is meant “mankind generally,” “all men.” Dr. Lightfoot quotes Bentley on the importance of this change: “By this accurate version some hurtful mistakes about partial redemption and absolute reprobation had been happily prevented. Our English readers had then seen what several of the Fathers saw and testified, that the many, in an antithesis to the one, are equivalent to all in Romans 5:12, and comprehend the whole multitude, the entire species of mankind, exclusive only of the one.” “In other words,” Dr. Lightfoot adds, “the benefits of Christ’s obedience extend to all men potentially. It is only human self-will which places limits to its operation.”

Much more.—Because God is much more ready to exercise mercy and love than severity, to pardon than to punish.

The grace of God, and the gift by grace.—The grace of God is the moving cause, its result is the gift (of righteousness, Romans 5:17) imputed by His gracious act to the many.

Romans 5:15-16. But not as the offence, &c. — The apostle now describes the difference between Adam and Christ, and that much more directly and expressly than the agreement between them. Now, the fall and the free gift differ, 1st, In amplitude, Romans 5:15; Romans 2 d, He, from whom sin came, and He from whom the free gift came, (termed also the gift of righteousness,) differ in power, Romans 5:16; Romans 3 d, The reason of both is subjoined, Romans 5:17; Romans 4 th, This premised, the offence and the free gift are compared with regard to their effect, Romans 5:18. And with regard to their cause, Romans 5:19. Not as the offence — The sin of Adam, and the misery that follows upon it; so also is the free gift — The benefit that arises to us from the obedience of Christ; that is, there is not a perfect equality and proportion between the evil that comes through Adam, and the benefit that comes by Christ: they are not equal in their influence and efficacy. For if through the offence of one many be dead — If the transgression of one mere man was effectual to bring down death, condemnation, and wrath upon all his posterity, or natural seed; much more the grace of God — His love and favour; and the gift — The salvation; by grace, which is by one man — Who, however, is God as well as man; even Jesus Christ — The divinely-commissioned and anointed Saviour; hath abounded unto many — Is more abundantly efficacious to procure reconciliation, pardon, righteousness, and life, for all that will accept them, and become his spiritual seed. The apostle’s design here is to compare Adam’s sin and Christ’s obedience, in respect of their virtue and efficacy, and to show that the efficacy of Christ’s obedience must needs be much more abundant than that of Adam’s sin. And not, &c. — As there is a difference in respect of the persons from whom these effects are derived, and the advantage is on the side of Christ; so there is a difference also in respect of the extent of the efficacy of their acts: thus, one sin brought condemnation; the mischief arose from one offence: here not only that one sin, but also many sins, — yea, all the sins of believers, — are pardoned, and their nature is renewed: so that the benefit exceeds the mischief. For the judgment — The guilt which exposed to judgment; was by one — Namely, by one offence; to Adam’s condemnation — Occasioning the sentence of death to be passed upon him, which, by consequence, overwhelmed his posterity: but the free gift — To χαρισμα, the gift of grace, is of many offences — Extends to the pardon not only of that original sin, but of all other personal and actual sins; unto justification — Unto the purchasing of it for all men, notwithstanding their many offences, and the conferring of it upon all the truly penitent that believe in Christ.5:15-19 Through one man's offence, all mankind are exposed to eternal condemnation. But the grace and mercy of God, and the free gift of righteousness and salvation, are through Jesus Christ, as man: yet the Lord from heaven has brought the multitude of believers into a more safe and exalted state than that from which they fell in Adam. This free gift did not place them anew in a state of trial, but fixed them in a state of justification, as Adam would have been placed, had he stood. Notwithstanding the differences, there is a striking similarity. As by the offence of one, sin and death prevailed to the condemnation of all men, so by the righteousness of one, grace prevailed to the justification of all related to Christ by faith. Through the grace of God, the gift by grace has abounded to many through Christ; yet multitudes choose to remain under the dominion of sin and death, rather than to apply for the blessings of the reign of grace. But Christ will in nowise cast out any who are willing to come to him.But not as the offence - This is the first point of contrast between the effect of the sin of Adam and of the work of Christ. The word "offence" means properly a fall, where we stumble over anything lying in our way It then means sin in general, or crime Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:35. Here it means the fall, or first sin of Adam. We use the word "fall" as applied to Adam, to denote his first offence, as being that act by which he fell from an elevated state of obedience and happiness into one of sin and condemnation.

So also - The gift is not in its nature and effects like the offence.

The free gift - The favor, benefit, or good bestowed gratuitously on us. It refers to the favors bestowed in the gospel by Christ. These are free, that is, without merit on our part, and bestowed on the undeserving.

For if ... - The apostle does not labor to prove that this is so. This is not the point of his argument, He assumes that as what was seen and known everywhere. His main point is to show that greater benefits have resulted from the work of the Messiah than evils from the fall of Adam.

Through the offence of one - By the fall of one. This simply concedes the fact that it is so. The apostle does not attempt an explanation of the mode or manner in which it happened. He neither says that it is by imputation, nor by inherent depravity, nor by imitation. Whichever of these modes may be the proper one of accounting for the fact, it is certain that the apostle states neither. His object was, not to explain the manner in which it was done, but to argue from the acknowledged existence of the fact. All that is certainly established from this passage is, that as a certain fact resulting from the transgression of Adam, "many" were "dead." This simple fact is all that can be proved from this passage. Whether it is to be explained by the doctrine of imputation, is to be a subject of inquiry independent of this passage. Nor have we a right to assume that this teaches the doctrine of the imputation of the sin of Adam to his posterity. For,

(1) The apostle says nothing of it.

(2) that doctrine is nothing but an effort to explain the manner of an event which the apostle Paul did not think it proper to attempt to explain.

(3) that doctrine is in fact no explanation.

It is introducing all additional difficulty. For to say that I am blameworthy, or ill-deserving for a sin in which I had no agency, is no explanation, but is involving me in an additional difficulty still more perplexing, to ascertain how such a doctrine can possibly be just. The way of wisdom would be, doubtless, to rest satisfied with the simple statement of a fact which the apostle has assumed, without attempting to explain it by a philosophical theory. Calvin accords with the above interpretation. "For we do not so perish by his (Adam's) crime, as if we were ourselves innocent; but Paul ascribes our ruin to him because his sin is the cause of our sin."

(This is not a fair quotation from Calvin. It leaves us to infer, that the Reformer affirmed, that Adam's sin is the cause of actual sin in us, on account of which last only we are condemned. Now under the twelfth verse Calvin says, "The inference is plain, that the apostle does not treat of actual sin, for if every person was the cause of his own guilt, why should Paul compare Adam with Christ?" If our author had not stopt short in his quotation, he would have found immediately subjoined, as an explanation: "I call that our sin, which is inbred, and with which we are born." Our being born with this sin is a proof of our guilt in Adam. But whatever opinion may he formed of Calvin's general views on this subject, nothing is more certain, than that he did not suppose the apostle treated of actual sin in these passages.

Notwithstanding of the efforts that are made to exclude the doctrine of imputation from this chapter, the full and varied manner in which the apostle expresses it, cannot be evaded. "Through the offence of one many be dead" - "the judgment was by one to condemnation" - "By one man's offence death reigned by one" - "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation" - "By one man's disobedience, many were made sinners," etc.

It is vain to tell us, as our author does" under each of these clauses respectively, that the apostle simply states the fact, that the sin of Adam has involved the race in condemnation, without adverting to the manner; for Paul does more than state the fact. He intimates that we are involved in condemnation in a way that bears a certain analogy to the manner in which we become righteous. And on this last, he is, without doubt, sufficiently explicited See a former supplementary note.

In Romans 5:18-19 the apostle seems plainly to affirm the manner of the fact "as by the offence of one," etc., "Even so," etc. "As by one man's disobedience," etc., "so," etc. There is a resemblance in the manner of the two things compared. It we wish to know how guilt and condemnation come by Adam, we have only to inquire, how righteousness and justification come by Christ. "So," that is, in this way, not in like manner. It is not in a manner that has merely some likeness, but it is in the very same manner, for although there is a contrast in the things, the one being disobedience and the other obedience, yet there is a perfect identity in the manner. - Haldane.

It is somewhat remarkable, that while our author so frequently affirms, that the apostle states the fact only, he himself should throughout assume the manner. He will not allow the apostle to explain the manner, nor any one who has a different view of it from himself. Yet he tells us, it is not by imputation that we become involved in Adam's guilt; that people "sin in their own persons, and that therefore they die." This he affirms to be the apostle's meaning. And is this not an explanation of the manner. Are we not left to conclude, that from Adam we simply derive a corrupt nature, in consequence of which we sin personally, and therefore die?)


15. But—"Yet," "Howbeit."

not as the offence—"trespass."

so also is the free gift—or "the gracious gift," "the gift of grace." The two cases present points of contrast as well as resemblance.

For if, &c.—rather, "For if through the offense of the one the many died (that is, in that one man's first sin), much more did the grace of God, and the free gift by grace, even that of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many." By "the many" is meant the mass of mankind represented respectively by Adam and Christ, as opposed, not to few, but to "the one" who represented them. By "the free gift" is meant (as in Ro 5:17) the glorious gift of justifying righteousness; this is expressly distinguished from "the grace of God," as the effect from the cause; and both are said to "abound" towards us in Christ—in what sense will appear in Ro 5:16, 17. And the "much more," of the one case than the other, does not mean that we get much more of good by Christ than of evil by Adam (for it is not a case of quantity at all); but that we have much more reason to expect, or it is much more agreeable to our ideas of God, that the many should be benefited by the merit of one, than that they should suffer for the sin of one; and if the latter has happened, much more may we assure ourselves of the former [Philippi, Hodge].

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift: q.d. But yet the resemblance betwixt the first and Second Adam is not so exact as to admit of no difference; differences there are, but they are to great advantage on Christ’s part: e.g. Compare Adam’s sin and Christ’s obedience, in respect of their efficacy and virtue, and you will find a great difference.

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: the obedience of Christ (which is the product of his grace and favour) is much more powerful to justification and salvation, than the sin of Adam was to condemnation. If the transgression of mere man was able to pull down death and wrath upon all his natural seed, then the obedience of one, which is God as well as man, will much more abundantly avail to procure pardon and life for all his spiritual seed. He doth not give the pre-eminence unto the grace of Christ in respect of the number, but of the more powerful efficacy and virtue. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift,.... By "the offence", or "fall", as the word signifies, is meant the first sin of Adam; by which he offended God, and fell from that estate in which he was created, and all his posterity with him; and by the "free gift" is meant, the righteousness of Christ, which justifies from that, and all other offences: now, though there is a great likeness between Adam and Christ; both are men, the first Adam is called "the one man", and so is the second Adam Jesus Christ; partly for the sake of the comparison between him and the first, and also to express the truth of his human nature; and because the Redeemer ought to be a man, though not a mere man; both are sole authors of what they convey to their respective offspring, Adam of sin, Christ of righteousness; both convey single things, Adam only one sin, not more, for when he had committed one sin, he broke the covenant made with him and his posterity, and so ceased in after acts to be a representative of them; Christ conveys his righteousness, or obedience to the law, without any additional works of righteousness of ours to complete it; and both convey what they do, "to all" their respective offspring: yet there is a dissimilitude between them, as to the manner of conveyance and the effects thereof; the offence or sin of Adam is conveyed in a natural way, or by natural generation, to all who descend from him in that manner; the righteousness of Christ is conveyed in a way of grace, to his spiritual seed: hence it is called, not only the "free gift", but "the grace of God, and the gift by grace", which is "by one man, Jesus Christ"; because of the grace of the Father, in fixing and settling the method of justification, by the righteousness of his Son; in sending him to work out one, that would be satisfying to law and justice; and in his gracious acceptation of it, on the behalf of his people, and the imputation of it to them; and because of the grace of the Son in becoming man, in being made under the law, yea, made sin and a curse, in order to bring in an everlasting righteousness; and because of the grace of the Spirit, in revealing and applying it, and working faith to receive it; for as the righteousness itself is a free grace gift, bestowed upon unworthy persons, so is faith likewise, by which it is laid hold on and embraced: and as there is a disagreement in the manner of conveying these things, so likewise in the effects they have upon the persons to whom they are conveyed; and the apostle argues from the influence and effect the one has, to the far greater and better influence and effect the other has:

for if through the offence of one many be dead; as all Adam's posterity are, not only subject to a corporeal death, but involved in a moral or spiritual, and liable to an eternal one, through the imputation of guilt, and the derivation of a corrupt nature from him: then

much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many; that is, the righteousness of Christ, in which the grace of God is so illustrious, is much more effectual to the giving of life to all his seed and offspring; not barely such a life as Adam had in innocence, and which he lost by the offence, but a spiritual and an eternal one; which sheds the exuberance of this grace, which secures and adjudges to a better life than what was lost by the fall.

{14} But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of {s} 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.

(14) Adam and Christ are compared together in this respect, that both of them give and yield to theirs that which is their own: but the first difference between them is this, that Adam by nature has spread his fault to the destruction of many, but Christ's obedience has be grace overflowed to many.

(s) That is, Adam.

Romans 5:15. But not as is the trespass, so also is the gift of grace. Although Adam and Christ as the heads of the old and new humanity are typical parallels, how different nevertheless are the two facts, by which the former and the latter stand to one another in the relation of type and antitype (on the one side the παράπτωμα, on the other the χάρισμα)—different, namely (εἰ γὰρ κ.τ.λ[1304]), by the opposite effects[1305] issuing from those two facts, on which that typical character is based. The question is not as to the different measure of efficacious power, for this extends alike in both cases from one to all; but as to the different specific kind of effect; there death, here the rich grace of God—the latter the more undoubted and certain (πολλῷ μᾶλλον), as coming after that deadly effect, which the παράπτωμα had. “For if (εἰ purely hypothetical) through the trespass of one the many died, much more has the grace of God and the gift by grace of the one man Jesus Christ become abundant to the many.” On τὸ παράπτωμα comp Wis 10:1. The contrast is τὸ χάρισμα, the work of grace, i.e. the atoning and justifying act of the divine grace in Christ,[1307] comp Romans 5:17 ff.

ΟἹ ΠΟΛΛΟΊ] the many, namely, according to Romans 5:12 (comp Romans 5:18), the collective posterity of Adam. It is in substance certainly identical with πάντες, to which Mehring reverts; but the contrast to the εἷς becomes more palpable and stronger by the designation of the collective mass as ΟἹ ΠΟΛΛΟΊ. Grotius erroneously says: “fere omnes, excepto Enocho,” which is against Romans 5:12; Romans 5:18. Such a unique, miraculous exception is not taken into consideration at all in this mode of looking at humanity as such on a great scale. Erroneous also is the view of Dietzsch, following Beck, that οἱ πολλοί and then ΤΟῪς ΠΟΛΛΟΎς divide mankind into two classes, of which the one continues in Adamite corruption (?) while the other is in Christ raised above sin and death. This theory breaks down even on the historical aorist ἀπέθανον and its, according to Romans 5:12, necessary reference to the physical death which was given with Adam’s death-bringing fall for all, so that they collectively (including also the subsequent believers) became liable to death through this παράπτωμα. See on Romans 5:12. It is moreover clear from our passage that for the explanation of the death of men Paul did not regard their individual sin as the causa efficiens, or even as merely medians; and it is a meaning gratuitously introduced, when it is explained: “the many sinned and found death, like the one Adam,” (Ewald, Jahrb. II., van Hengel and others).

πολλῷ μᾶλλον] as in Romans 5:9, of the logical plus, i.e. of the degree of the evidence as enhanced through the contents of the protasis, multo potius. “If Adam’s fall has had so bad an universal consequence, much less can it be doubted that,” etc. For God far rather allows His goodness to prevail than His severity; this is the presupposition on which the conclusion rests. Chrysostom has correctly interpreted π. μᾶλλ. in the logical sense (ΠΟΛΛῷ ΓᾺΡ ΤΟῦΤΟ ΕὐΛΟΓΏΤΕΡΟΝ), as does also Theodoret, and recently Fritzsche, Philippi, Tholuck (who however takes in the quantitative plus as well), van Hengel, Mangold, and Klöpper. The quantitative view (Theophylact: οὐ τοσοῦτον μόνον, φησὶν, ὠφέλησεν ὁ ΧΡΙΣΤῸς, ὍΣΟΝ ἜΒΛΑΨΕΝ Ὁ ἈΔΆΜ; also Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Calovius and others; and in modern times Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, Rothe, Nielsen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Maier, Hofmann, and Dietzsch) is opposed to the analogy of Romans 5:17-18; and has also against it the consideration, that the measure of punishment of the παράπτωμα (viz. the death of all) was already quantitatively the greatest possible, was absolute, and therefore the measure of the grace, while just as absolute (εἰς τοὺς πολλούς), is not greater still than that measure of punishment, but only stands out against the dark background of the latter all the more evidently in its rich fulness.[1310]

ἡ χάρις τ. Θεοῦ κ. ἡ δωρεά] the former, the grace of God, richly turned towards the many, is the principle of the latter (ἡ δωρεά = τό χάρισμα in Romans 5:15, the gift of justification). The δωρεά is to be understood κατʼ ἐξοχήν, without supplying τοῦ Θεοῦ; but the discourse keeps apart with solemn emphasis what is cause and what is effect.

ἐν χάριτι.… Χριστοῦ is not with many expositors (including Rothe, Tholuck, Baumgarten-Crusius, Philippi, Mehring, Hofmann, and Dietzsch) to be joined with ἡ δωρεά (the gift, which is procured through the grace of Christ), but with Fritzsche, Rückert, Ewald, van Hengel, and others, to be connected with ἐπερίσσευσε (has become abundant through the grace of Christ)—a construction which is decisively supported, not indeed by the absence of the article, since ἡ δωρεά ἐν χάριτι might be conjoined so as to form one idea, but by the reason, that only with this connection the τῷ.… παραπτώματι in the protasis has its necessary, strictly correspondent, correlative in the apodosis. The divine grace and the gift have abounded to the many through the grace of Christ, just as the many died through the fall of Adam. The χάρις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is—as the genitive-relation naturally suggests of itself, and as is rendered obviously certain by the analogy of ἡ χάρις τ. Θεοῦthe grace of Jesus Christ, in virtue of which He found Himself moved to accomplish the ἱλαστήριον, in accordance with the Father’s decree, and thereby to procure for men the divine grace and the δωρεά. It is not therefore the favour in which Christ stood with God (Luther, 1545); nor the grace of God received in the fellowship of Christ (van Hengel); nor is it the steadily continued, earthly and heavenly, redeeming efficacy of Christ’s grace (Rothe, Dietzsch). Comp Acts 15:11, 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 1:6; Titus 3:6; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 2 Corinthians 13:13. The designation of Christ: τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ʼΙ. Χ., is occasioned by the contrast with the one man Adam. Comp 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Timothy 2:5. To describe the divine glory of this One man (Colossians 1:19) did not fall within the Apostle’s present purpose; but it was known to the reader, and is presupposed in His χάρις (John 1:14).

τῇ τοῦ] “articuli nervosissimi,” Bengel

εἰς τοὺς πολλούς] belongs to ἐπερίσσ. The πολλοί are likewise here, just as previously, all mankind (comp πάντας ἀνθρώπους, Romans 5:18). To this multitude has the grace of God, etc., been plentifully imparted (εἰς τ. π. ἐπερίσσευσε, comp 2 Corinthians 1:5), namely, from the objective point of view, in so far as Christ’s act of redemption has acquired for all the divine grace and gift, although the subjective reception of it is conditioned by faith. See on Romans 5:18. The expression ἐπερίσσευσε (he does not say merely ἐγένετο, or some such word) is the echo of his own blessed experience.

[1304] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1305] This contrast forbids the taking ἀλλʼ οὐκ.… χάρισμα interrogatively (Mehring and earlier expositors), and so getting rid of the negation.

[1307] The unhappy and happy consequences respectively of the παράπτωμα and the χάρισμα are not included in these conceptions themselves (in opposition to Dietzsch). Nor is παράπτωμα to be so distinguished from παράβασις, that the former connotes the unhappy consequences (Grotius, Dietzsch). On the contrary, the expressions are popular synonyms, only according to different figures, like fall (not falling away) and trespass. Comp. on παράπτ. Ezekiel 14:13; Ezekiel 15:8; Ezekiel 18:24; Ezekiel 18:26; Ezekiel 3:20; Romans 4:25; Romans 11:11; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 2:1 et al.

[1310] The way would have been logically prepared for the quantitative plus by the hypothetical protasis only in the event of that which was predicated being in the two clauses of a similar (not opposite) kind; in the event therefore of its having been possible to affirm a salutariness of the παράπτωμα in the protasis. Comp. Romans 11:12; 2 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 9:13 f., Hebrews 12:9; Hebrews 12:25. The main objection which Dietzsch (following Rothe) raises against the interpretation of the logical plus, on the ground that we have here two historical realities before us, is by no means tenable. For even in the case of two facts which have taken place, the one may be corroborated and inferred from the other, namely, as respects its certainty and necessity. If the one has taken place, it is by so much the more evident that the other also has taken place. The historical reality of the one leaves all the less room for doubt as to that of the other. The second does not in this case require to be something still future, especially if it be an occurrence, which does not fall within the range of sensuous perception.Romans 5:15. At this point the parallel of Adam and Christ becomes a contrast: not as the παράπτωμα (the word implies the Fall), so also is the χάρισμα (the gift which is freely provided for sinners in the Gospel, i.e., a Divine righteousness and life). οἱ πολλοὶ means “all,” but presents the “all” as a great number. πολλῷ μᾶλλον: the idea underlying the inference is that God delights in mercy; if under His administration one man’s offence could have such far-reaching consequences, much more reasonably may we feel sure of the universal influence of one Man’s righteous achievement. This idea is the keynote of the whole chapter: see Romans 5:9-10; Romans 5:17. ἡ δωρεὰ ἐν χάριτι is to be construed together: to repeat the article before ἐν χάριτι is not essential, and ἡ δωρεὰ is awkward standing alone. God’s χάρις is shown in the gift of His Son, Christ’s in His undertaking in obedience to the Father the painful work of our salvation. εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς like οἱ πολλοὶ is not opposed to “all,” but to “one”: it is indeed equivalent to “all,” and signifies that the “all” are not few. The world is the subject of redemption; if the race suffered through the first Adam, much more may be argue that what has been done by the Second will benefit the race. ἐπερίσσευσεν: the word is prompted by Paul’s own experience: the blessedness of the Christian life far outwent the misery of the life under condemnation.15. But not] Here, after the parallel of Adam and Christ, is stated the glorious difference of the work of Christ. This occupies Romans 5:15-17.—The difference is, the vastly greater wonder of His Work and its Result.

offence] Lit. stumbling. Our word “offence” comes from the Latin for the same, and is so used here by E. V.

if] Here (as in Romans 5:10,) the “if” nearly = “as.”

of one] Lit. of the one; the one personal Offender in view.

many be dead] Lit. the many died. See on “all have sinned,” (an exact parallel,) Romans 5:12. “The many:”—“many,” in contrast to their one forefather; “the many,” as those in question here. They are, in this case, all mankind.

much more, &c.] Here notice the respect in which Redemption is so far “in excess of” Ruin. Not in respect of numbers affected; because, on any theory, the redeemed are no more numerous than the ruined, who are the whole race. It is in respect of the quality of the cause and the effect. Redemption is a positive exercise of surpassing grace and love, resulting in a glorious and eternal reversal, in the subjects of it, of the previous ruin; indeed, more than a reversal, because it brings with it the exaltation given to the brethren of the Second Adam.—The “much more” here, and in Romans 5:17, is thus q. d., “The fall of the First Adam caused vast results of evil; the work of the far greater Second Adam shall much more cause vast results of good.”

the grace of God] His positive favour; whereas He merely let the law take its course at the Fall.

the gift, &c.] Lit. the gift in the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ. The “grace of Christ” is the loving favour to man shewn by Him in His work. The “gift” which was given “in” (i.e. practically “through,” or “by,”) that grace is the eternal life of the justified.—“The one Man:”—“Man” is emphatic, indicating the Lord’s position as the Second Adam, and, (as this Man is Jesus Christ,) the supreme greatness of the Second Adam.

hath abounded] Lit. did abound unto the many. The reference is to the historic fact of His Work. “The many:”—here again, “many” in contrast to the One-ness of their Head; “the many,” as the persons here in question. These here, (as e.g. Romans 5:13-19 explain,) are the justified. See below on Romans 5:18.—“Abounded:”—the idea is of Divine liberality in mercy, as opposed to the no more than legal justice of the condemnation.Romans 5:15. Ἀλλʼ οὐχ, but not) Adam and Christ, according to contrary aspects [regarded from contrary points of view], agree in the positive [absolutely], differ in the comparative [in the degree]. Paul first intimates their agreement, Romans 5:12-14, expressing the protasis, whilst leaving the apodosis, meanwhile, to be understood. Then next, he much more directly and expressly describes the difference: moreover, the offence and the gift differ; 1. In extent, Romans 5:15; Romans 2. That self-same man from whom sin was derived, and this self-same Person, from whom the gift was derived, differ in power, Romans 5:16; and those two members are connected by anaphora [i.e., repeating at the beginning, the same words] not as, [at the beginning of both] Romans 5:15-16, and the aetiology in Romans 5:17 [cause assigned; on aetiology, and anaphora, endix] comprehends both. Finally, when he has previously stated this difference, in the way of προθεραπεία [endix; Anticipatory, precaution against misunderstanding], he introduces and follows up by protasis and apodosis the comparison itself, viewed in the relation of effect, Romans 5:18, and in the relation of cause, Romans 5:19.—τὸ παραπτώματὸ χάρισμα, the offence—the gift) The antitheses in this passage are to be observed with the utmost care, from which the proper signification of the words of the apostle is best gathered. Presently after, in this verse, and then in Romans 5:17, the gift is expressed by synonymous terms.—οἱ πολλοὶ, the many) this includes in its signification all, for the article has a meaning relative to all, Romans 5:12, comp. 1 Corinthians 10:17.—ἡ χάρις, grace) Grace and the gift differ, Romans 5:17; Ephesians 3:7. Grace is opposed to the offence; the gift is opposed to the words, they are dead, and it is the gift of life. The Papists hold that as grace, which is a gift, and what follows grace, as they define it, they do not consider as a gift, but as merit. But all is without money or price of ours [the whole, from first to last, is of grace, not of debt or merit of ours].—ἐν χάριτι Χριστοῦ, in the grace of Christ) see Matthew 3:17; Luke 2:14; Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52; John 1:14; John 1:16-17; Galatians 1:6; Ephesians 1:5-7. The grace of God is the grace of Christ, conferred by the Father upon Christ, that it may flow from Him to us.—τῇ τοῦ) Articles most forcible, Colossians 1:19 : τῇ especially, is very providently [to guard against mistake] added; for if it were wanting, any one, in my opinion, might suppose that the words of one, depended on the word gift, rather than on grace. As it is, [the τῇ being used] it is evident that the grace of God, and the grace of Jesus Christ, are the things predicated; comp. similarly, Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39, concerning love [the attribution of it, both to God and to Christ, as here].—ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου, of one man) Paul (more than the other apostles, who had seen Him before His passion) gladly and purposely calls Jesus man, in this His work, as man for man, 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Timothy 2:5. Can the human nature of Christ be excluded from the office of Mediator? When Paul in this verse calls Christ man, he does not give that appellation to Adam; and Romans 5:19, where he gives it to Adam, he does not bestow it upon Christ (comp. Hebrews 12:18, note). The reason is, doubtless, this, both Adam and Christ do not sustain our manhood at the same time; and either Adam rendered himself unworthy of the name of man; or the name of man is scarcely sufficiently worthy of Christ. Moreover, Christ is generally denominated from His human nature, when the question is about bringing men to God, Hebrews 2:6, etc.: from His Divine nature, when the subject under discussion is the coming of the Saviour to us, and the protection which He affords us, against our enemies, Titus 2:13. No mention is here made of the Mother of God; and if her conception was necessarily immaculate, she must have had no father, but only a mother, like Him, to whom she gave birth. [Cohel. or Ecclesiastes 7:29.]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. Of one (τοῦ ἑνὸς)

Rev., correctly, the one - Adam. So the many.

Much more

Some explain of the quality of the cause and effect: that as the fall of Adam caused vast evil, the work of the far greater Christ shall much more cause great results of good. This is true; but the argument seems to turn rather on the question of certainty. "The character of God is such, from a christian point of view, that the comparison gives a much more certain basis for belief, in what is gained through the second Adam, than in the certainties of sin and death through the first Adam" (Schaff and Riddle).

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