Romans 5:17
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.)
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(17) Further confirmation of the contrast between the effect of Adam’s sin and the atonement of Christ. The one produced a reign of death, the other shall produce a reign of life.

Romans 5:17. For, &c. — Here he shows the difference in respect of the consequence of those acts, or the different nature of the effects, that death came from one, life from the other; as if he had said, Moreover, there is another important article, in which the grace of the gospel exceeds the seeming severity which attended the imputation of guilt from our first father, Adam, namely, that, if by one man’s offence death reigned by one — Over all his posterity, as we observed above; they who receive — By faith, John 1:12; abundance of grace — An abundant measure of God’s love, of the influences of his Spirit, and the gift of righteousness, exhibited in the gospel; namely, those benefits which Christ, by his obedience unto death, has purchased for us; shall much more reign in life, by one — The great restorer and recoverer of his seed; Jesus Christ — That is, believers shall by him be brought to a much nobler and more excellent life than that from which Adam fell, and which they lost in him.

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.For if - This verse contains the same idea as before presented, but in a varied form. It is condensing the whole subject, and presenting it in a single view.

By one man's offence - Or, by one offence. Margin. The reading of the text is the more correct. "If, under the administration of a just and merciful Being, it has occurred, that by the offence of one, death hath exerted so wide a dominion; we have reason much more to expect under that administration, that they who are brought under his plan of saving mercy shall be brought under a dispensation of life."

Death reigned - Note, Romans 5:14.

By one - By means of one man.

Much more - We have much more reason to expect it. It evidently accords much more with the administration of a Being of infinite goodness.

They which receive abundance of grace - The abundant favor; the mercy that shall counterbalance and surpass the evils introduced by the sin of Adam. That favor shall be more than sufficient to counterbalance all those evils. This is particularly true of the redeemed, of whom the apostle in this verse is speaking. The evils which they suffer in consequence of the sin of Adam bear no comparison with the mercies of eternal life that shall flow to them from the work of the Saviour.

The gift of righteousness - This stands opposed to the evils introduced by Adam. As the effect of his sin was to produce condemnation, so here the gift of righteousness refers to the opposite, to pardon, to justification, to acceptance with God. To show that people were thus justified by the gospel, was the leading design of the apostle; and the argument here is, that if by one man's sin, death reigned over those who were under condemnation in consequence of it, we have much more reason to suppose that they who are delivered from sin by the death of Christ, and accepted of God, shall reign with him in life.

Shall reign - The word "reign" is often applied to the condition of saints in heaven, 2 Timothy 2:12, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him;" Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:5. It means that they shall be exalted to a glorious state of happiness in heaven; that they shall be triumphant over all their enemies; shall gain an ultimate victory; and shall partake with the Captain of their salvation in the splendors of his dominion above, Revelation 3:21; Luke 22:30.

In life - This stands opposed to the death that reigned as the consequence of the sin of Adam. It denotes complete freedom from condemnation; from temporal death; from sickness, pain, and sin. It is the usual expression to denote the complete bliss of the saints in glory; Note, John 3:36.

By one, Jesus Christ - As the consequence of his work. The apostle here does not state the mode or manner in which this was done; nor does he say that it was perfectly parallel in the mode with the effects of the sin of Adam. He is comparing the results or consequences of the sin of the one and of the work of the other. There is a similarity in the consequences. The way in which the work of Christ had contributed to this he had stated in Romans 3:24, Romans 3:28.

17. For if by—"the"

one man's offence death reigned by one—"through the one."

much more shall they which receive—"the"

abundance of grace and of the gift of—justifying

righteousness … reign in life by one Jesus Christ—"through the one." We have here the two ideas of Ro 5:15 and Ro 5:16 sublimely combined into one, as if the subject had grown upon the apostle as he advanced in his comparison of the two cases. Here, for the first time in this section, he speaks of that LIFE which springs out of justification, in contrast with the death which springs from sin and follows condemnation. The proper idea of it therefore is, "Right to live"—"Righteous life"—life possessed and enjoyed with the good will, and in conformity with the eternal law, of "Him that sitteth on the Throne"; life therefore in its widest sense—life in the whole man and throughout the whole duration of human existence, the life of blissful and loving relationship to God in soul and body, for ever and ever. It is worthy of note, too, that while he says death "reigned over" us through Adam, he does not say Life "reigns over us" through Christ; lest he should seem to invest this new life with the very attribute of death—that of fell and malignant tyranny, of which we were the hapless victims. Nor does he say Life reigns in us, which would have been a scriptural enough idea; but, which is much more pregnant, "We shall reign in life." While freedom and might are implied in the figure of "reigning," "life" is represented as the glorious territory or atmosphere of that reign. And by recurring to the idea of Ro 5:16, as to the "many offenses" whose complete pardon shows "the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness," the whole statement is to this effect: "If one man's one offense let loose against us the tyrant power of Death, to hold us as its victims in helpless bondage, 'much more,' when we stand forth enriched with God's 'abounding grace' and in the beauty of a complete absolution from countless offenses, shall we expatiate in a life divinely owned and legally secured, 'reigning' in exultant freedom and unchallenged might, through that other matchless 'One,' Jesus Christ!" (On the import of the future tense in this last clause, see on [2198]Ro 5:19, and [2199]Ro 6:5).

Here he shows the difference in respect of the effects and consequents of their acts. If by means of one man and his one offence death had power over all mankind, then much more shall the grace and gift of righteousness, which is by Jesus Christ alone, obtain eternal life for all that have received abundant grace and mercy from him.

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one,.... It may be rendered, "by one offence death reigned by one"; for it was the single sin of Adam, the first sin that was committed by him, which gave death its reigning power over the sons of men:

"Adam, say (f) the Jewish doctors, transgressed, , one commandment of the law,''

and was the cause of death to himself, and to all the world. These words are a repetition, with a further explanation, of Romans 5:15; there it is said, "through the offence of one many be dead"; here "by one man's offence", or "by one offence, death reigned by one"; in which death is represented as a mighty monarch, a powerful king; and designs not only corporeal death, which has mounted the throne by sin, and is supported in its dominion by an ordinance of heaven; but also a moral or spiritual death, which has seized on all mankind, and reigns in every power and faculty of the soul of man; and likewise an eternal one, which will have power over all those, who have no part in the first resurrection: in Romans 5:15, "the grace of God, and the gift by grace", are said to "abound unto many"; here they are said to

receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness: by abundance of grace is designed, either something distinct from the justifying righteousness of Christ; such as the abundant grace and mercy of God, in regeneration and conversion; the various graces of the Spirit then implanted; the many things then wrought in the heart; the large discoveries! of pardoning grace, and the abundance of the love of God shed abroad in the soul by the Spirit: or rather the same with "the gift of righteousness", because of the large display of the grace of God in it; by which "righteousness" is meant, not righteousness or holiness infused into us; but the righteousness of Christ, which is a free grace gift, and is enjoyed in a way of receiving; which denotes the act of faith, and supposes giving; and hence there is no room for boasting, but great reason for thankfulness: now such persons who have received this abundant grace and free gift,

shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ; in corporeal life, they are not now subject to death as a penal evil, as other persons are, and though they die this death, they will triumph over it in the resurrection morn, they will rise again to everlasting life; they reign now in spiritual life over sin, Satan, and the world; and they will reign in eternal life, they will sit on thrones, wear crowns, and possess a kingdom of glory for ever and ever; and all by and through one, Jesus Christ, and not on account of any works, or merits of theirs.

(f) Zohar in Num. fol. 52. 1. Vid. Caphtor, fol. 102. 1. supra citat.

{16} 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 {u} reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

(16) The third difference is that the righteousness of Christ, being imputed to us by grace, is of greater power to bring life, than the offence of Adam is to condemn his posterity to death.

(u) Be partakers of true and everlasting life.

Romans 5:17. The τὸ δὲ χάρισμα ἐκ πολλ. παραπτ. εἰς δικαίωμα, just asserted in contrast to the κατάκριμα proceeding from One, has now the seal of confirmation (γάρ) impressed on it through the triumphant certainty of the reign of life, which must belong to the recipients of the δικαίωμα in the approaching completion of the kingdom through the One Jesus Christ all the more undoubtedly, since the παράπτωμα of the One Adam brought death to reign. The effect of the second One (the Adam μέλλων) in the direction of salvation cannot in fact remain behind the effect which proceeded from the first One in the direction of destruction. On this rests the evidence of the blissful assurance, which with πολλῷ μᾶλλον stands forth as it were from the gloom of the death previously described (comp Romans 5:15; Romans 5:9). The view that Romans 5:17 adduces the proof of the first half of Romans 5:16 being really proved by its second half (Hofmann), is to be rejected for this very reason, that the demonstration in Romans 5:16 is so full and clear in itself, especially after Romans 5:15, that there is no longer any necessity for receiving proof of its probative power, and no reader could expect this. It is quite arbitrary in Rothe, especially looking to the regular continuation by γάρ, to take Romans 5:16 as a parenthesis, and to attach Romans 5:17 to Romans 5:15. For other views of the connection see Dietzsch, who, in accordance with his own unsuitable rendering of ΔΙΚΑΊΩΜΑ, finds here the inner righteous condition of life verified by the final reign of life as its outward manifestation.

ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ἙΝΌς] through the medium of the One, is added, although ἐν ἑνὶ παραπτώματι had been already said (see the critical remarks), in order to prepare the way with due emphasis for the ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ἙΝῸς ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ of the apodosis. Comp on 2 Corinthians 12:7.

ΠΟΛΛῷ ΜᾶΛΛΟΝ] Here also, as in Romans 5:15, the logical plus, the far greater certainty and evidence.

οἱ λαμβάνοντες] not those who believingly accept (Bengel, Rothe, van Hengel, and others), but simply the recipients. The present participle denotes the presence of the time of grace introduced by Christ, which stands in the middle between the former reign of death and the reign of life in the blissful future and determines the subjects of the latter; comp Romans 5:11.

ΤῊΝ ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΊΑΝ] the abundant fulness (comp Romans 2:4) of grace, referring to ἘΠΕΡΊΣΣΕΥΣΕ in Romans 5:15.

Τῆς ΧΆΡ. Κ. Τ. ΔΩΡΕᾶς] distinguished, as in Romans 5:15. But the emphasis of the description, climactic in the enthusiasm of victory, lies in the first instance on ΧΆΡΙΤΟς, and then, as it advances, on ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗς, in contrast to the former tragic ΠΑΡΆΠΤΩΜΑ.

] is that, in which the ΔΩΡΕΆ consists. The whole characteristic description of the subjects by ΟἹ.… ΛΑΜΒΆΝΟΝΤΕς already implies the certainty with which one may reckon in the case of those, who are honoured to receive such abundance, on the final ΒΑΣΙΛΕΎΕΙΝ ἘΝ ΖΩῇ through Christ.

ἘΝ ΖΕῇ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΎΣΟΥΣΙ] The word ΒΑΣΙΛ. itself, and more especially the future, renders it certain that the future Messianic ζωή is here meant; in which, as the opposite of the ΘΆΝΑΤΟς, the pardoned and justified shall have the joint-dominion of the new world (Romans 8:21), the ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ and its ΔΌΞΑ (Romans 8:17), under Christ the Head (1 Corinthians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12), in whose final manifestation their life shall be gloriously manifested (Colossians 3:3 f.). Observe, further, that in the apodosis Paul does not say Ἡ ΖΩΉ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΎΣΕΙ ἘΠῚ ΤΟῪς.… ΛΑΜΒΆΝΟΝΤΑς in accordance with the protasis, but appropriately, and in harmony with the active nature of the relation, i.e. of the future glorious liberty of the children of God, places the subjects actively in the foreground, and affirms of them the reigning in life.

The Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is added as if in triumph, in contradistinction to the unnamed but well-known εἷς, who occasioned the dominion of death. Finally, we should not fail to notice how in this passage the glance proceeds from the status gratiae (λαμβάνοντες) backward to the status irae (ἐβασίλευσε), and forward to the status gloriae (βασιλεύσουσι).

Romans 5:17. This verse confirms the preceding. The argument is the same in kind as in Romans 5:15. The effects of the Fall are indubitable: still less open to doubt are the effects of the work of Christ. With οἱ τὴν περισσείαν τῆς χάριτος καὶ [τῆς δωρεᾶς] τῆς δικαιοσύνης λαμβάνοντες we again touch experience, and an empirical condition is attached to the abstract universality suggested by Romans 5:12. The abundance of the grace and of (the gift which consists in) righteousness has to be received by faith. But when by faith a connection is formed with Christ, the consequences of that connection, as more agreeable to what we know of God’s nature, can be more surely counted upon than the consequences of our natural connection with Adam. Part of the contrast is marked by the change from “death reigned” to “we shall reign in life,” not “life shall reign in or over us”. The future in βασιλεύσουσιν is no doubt logical, but it refers nevertheless to the consummation of redemption in the Messianic kingdom in the world to come. Cf. Romans 8:17; Romans 8:21, Colossians 3:3 f., 2 Timothy 2:12.

17. For, &c.] “For” refers mainly to the last clause of Romans 5:16. The contrast of “one” and “many” is now dropped, but we find another contrast; that between the legal results of evil and the overflowing results of Divine goodness, the goodness which grants acquittal to the “ungodly.” Q. d., “The free gift is a gift indeed, liberal and glorious: for if the result of Adam’s one sin was the reign of death, far more amply shall the result of God’s grace be the reign of the justified in life!”—In this verse the “glory to be revealed,” as a necessary sequel of justification, first distinctly appears.

by one man’s offence] A better reading gives in one offence. The First Sin was the occasion “in” (or on) which death acquired its tyranny over man.

by one] Lit. through, or by, the one. So just below. See on Romans 5:15.

they which receive] From time to time; a continuous process, as regards successive generations.

abundance] The word implies the necessary fulness of a gift of Divine love. Justification, with its sequel, is always “abundant,” both in itself and as to its recipients.

grace] Lit. the grace; i.e. that in question; acceptance for Christ’s sake.

the gift of righteousness] i.e. here, practically, Justification. What is “given” is a standing of acceptance in the eye of the Law. And the Law, as such, accepts only on the ground of “righteousness,” freedom from guilt. How such freedom from guilt is attained is another question: in the present case, it is attained as “a gift,” given by “the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”

shall reign in life] Amply reversing the “reign” of death over them. Probably the chief idea is of a triumph, full and lasting, over death. Cp. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, an instructive parallel. But no doubt the words refer beyond this to all the majesty of the coming “glory” of the justified, figured elsewhere by the “crown” of life, righteousness, or glory; and by the “throne.” See the marvellous union of service and royalty, Revelation 22:3; Revelation 22:5.—“Life” is here the future, heavenly life; life in its full sense. Cp. Matthew 18:8-9; Matthew 19:17.

by one, &c.] Lit. through the One, Jesus Christ. Here is the secret of the “much more.” The surpassing glory of Him who is the Cause accounts for the Divine quality of the Result.

Romans 5:17. Τοῦ ἑνὸςδιὰ τοῦ ἑνὸς, of the one man, by the one) A very significant repetition; lest the sins committed by individuals should seem rather [than the offence of the one man] to have produced death.—ἐβασίλευσε, reigned) The word in the preterite tense looks back from the economy of grace to the economy of sin; as presently after the expression shall reign, in the future, looks forward from the economy of sin, to the economy of grace and eternal life; so Romans 5:19.—τὴν περισσείαν) Πλεονάζειν, and περισσεύειν differ, as much in the positive, and more in the comparative, Romans 5:20. Abundance of grace, is put in opposition to the one offence.—λαμβάνοντες, receiving) Λαμβάνειν may be rendered either as a neuter-passive verb, empfangen, erlangen, kriegen to receive, to acquire, to get; or actively, annehmen, to take. The former is the better sense; still the relation to δωρεὰν a gift, is more suitable to the act of taking. In justification, man does something; but the act of taking, so far as it is an act, does not justify, but that which is taken or laid hold of. The gift and taking, are correlatives. Furthermore, this verb is not used, when we are speaking of sin; and it is for the same reason, owing to which it happens that we are not said to reign in death, but death reigned; but life reigns in us, 2 Corinthians 4:12, and we in life. Christ, in this passage, is King of them that reign. Life and reigning are mentioned in connection also, in Revelation 20:4. The term life is repeated from ch. Romans 1:17, and often recurs, presently after, in Romans 5:18; Romans 5:21, and in the following chapters.

Romans 5:17Reigned

The emphatic point of the comparison. The effect of the second Adam cannot fall behind that of the first. If death reigned, there must be a reign of life.

They which receive (οἱ λαμβάνοντες)

Not believingly accept, but simply the recipients.

Abundance of grace

Note the articles, the abundance of the grace.

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