Romans 5:20
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
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(20, 21) The Apostle had already (Romans 5:13-14) alluded to the intervention of the Law. Now he returns to the topic, and in order to complete his historical view of the origin of sin through Adam, and its atonement through Christ, he considers what was its effect upon the former, and how that effect was met and neutralised by the latter. Mankind had already been led into sin by Adam. The Law came in to make matters still worse. It substituted conscious sin for unconscious, and so heightened its guilt. But all this is more than retrieved by grace.

(20) Entered.—A graphic metaphorical expression: “Came in to the side of” the sin already existing; “took its place,” as it were, “by the side of” sin, and joined forces with it, thus greatly adding to its extent and power.

Abound.—This word should be reserved for the last of the three places in this verse in which it appears in the Authorised version. The original in the other two places is different, and has the force of “Might be multiplied,” or “increased”—i.e., made more and made worse.

5:20,21 By Christ and his righteousness, we have more and greater privileges than we lost by the offence of Adam. The moral law showed that many thoughts, tempers, words, and actions, were sinful, thus transgressions were multiplied. Not making sin to abound the more, but discovering the sinfulness of it, even as the letting in a clearer light into a room, discovers the dust and filth which were there before, but were not seen. The sin of Adam, and the effect of corruption in us, are the abounding of that offence which appeared on the entrance of the law. And the terrors of the law make gospel comforts the more sweet. Thus God the Holy Spirit has, by the blessed apostle, delivered to us a most important truth, full of consolation, suited to our need as sinners. Whatever one may have above another, every man is a sinner against God, stands condemned by the law, and needs pardon. A righteousness that is to justify cannot be made up of a mixture of sin and holiness. There can be no title to an eternal reward without a pure and spotless righteousness: let us look for it, even to the righteousness of Christ.Moreover - But. What is said in this verse and the following, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that the Law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by the apostle was unnecessary. He therefore shows them that the effect of the Law of Moses was to increase rather than to diminish the sins which had been introduced into the world. And if such was the fact, it could not be pled that it was adapted to overcome the acknowledged evils of the apostasy.

The law - The Mosaic laws and institutions. The word seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the Old Testament.

Entered - This word usually means to enter secretly or surreptitiously. But it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the Law came in, or was given. It came in addition to, or it supervened the state before Moses, when people were living without a revelation.

That sin ... - The word "that" ἵνα hina in this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that such was in fact the effect. It had this tendency, not to restrain or subdue sin, but to excite and increase it. That the word has this sense may be seen in the lexicons. The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by the apostle in Romans 7:7-11. The Law expresses the duty of man; it is spiritual and holy; it is opposed to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and it thus excites opposition, provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency. A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions, only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency. See this subject further illustrated in the notes at Romans 7:7-11.

The offence - The offence which had been introduced by Adam, that is, sin. Compare Romans 5:15.

Might abound - Might increase; that is, would be more apparent, more violent, more extensive. The introduction of the Mosaic Law, instead of diminishing the sins of people, only increases them.

But where sin abounded - Alike in all dispensations - before the Law, and under the Law. In all conditions of the human family before the gospel, it was the characteristic that sin was prevalent.

Grace - Favor; mercy.

Did much more abound - Superabounded. The word is used no where else in the New Testament, except in 2 Corinthians 7:4. It means that the pardoning mercy of the gospel greatly triumphed over sin, even over the sins of the Jews, though those sins were greatly aggravated by the light which they enjoyed under the advantages of divine revelation.

20, 21. Moreover the law—"The law, however." The Jew might say, If the whole purposes of God towards men center in Adam and Christ, where does "the law" come in, and what was the use of it? Answer: It

entered—But the word expresses an important idea besides "entering." It signifies, "entered incidentally," or "parenthetically." (In Ga 2:4 the same word is rendered, "came in privily.") The meaning is, that the promulgation of the law at Sinai was no primary or essential feature of the divine plan, but it was "added" (Ga 3:19) for a subordinate purpose—the more fully to reveal the evil occasioned by Adam, and the need and glory of the remedy by Christ.

that the offence might abound—or, "be multiplied." But what offense? Throughout all this section "the offense" (four times repeated besides here) has one definite meaning, namely, "the one first offense of Adam"; and this, in our judgment, is its meaning here also: "All our multitudinous breaches of the law are nothing but that one first offense, lodged mysteriously in the bosom of every child of Adam as an offending principal, and multiplying itself into myriads of particular offenses in the life of each." What was one act of disobedience in the head has been converted into a vital and virulent principle of disobedience in all the members of the human family, whose every act of wilful rebellion proclaims itself the child of the original transgression.

But where sin abounded—or, "was multiplied."

grace did much more abound—rather, "did exceedingly abound," or "superabound." The comparison here is between the multiplication of one offense into countless transgressions, and such an overflow of grace as more than meets that appalling case.

Here he shows the reason why the law was given; although (as it is in Romans 5:13) before that time sin was in the world, it was

that the offence might abound; either strictly, the offence of that one man, or rather largely, the offence of every man. The particle ina (rendered that), is to be taken either causally, and so it is interpreted by Galatians 3:19, where it is said, the law was added because of transgressions, that thereby the guilt and punishment of sin being more fully discovered, the riches of God’s free grace and mercy might be the more admired; or else eventually, it so falls out by accident, or by reason of man’s corruption, that sin is thereby increased or augmented.

The law is holy, just, and good, ,{ as Romans 7:12} how then doth that increase sin? Either as it irritates the sinner, Romans 3:20; and Romans 7:8,11, or makes manifest the sin, Romans 7:7,13; thereby sin is known to be, as indeed it is, out of measure sinful.

But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: this is added by way of correction, to mitigate the former assertion, and it lays down a second end of giving the law; the former was the increase and manifestation of sin, the latter is the abounding or superabounding of God’s grace. There is this difference to be observed; that the first end is universal, for in all men, both good and bad, the law worketh the increase and knowledge of sin; but tho other is particular, and peculiar to the elect: to them only the grace of God is superabundant after that they have abounded in sin, and by how much the greater is their guilt, by so much the greater is the grace of God in the free forgiveness thereof.

Moreover, the law entered,.... By "the law" is meant, not the law of nature, much less the law of sin; rather the ceremonial law, which came in over and above the moral law; it entered but for a time; by which sin abounded, and appeared very sinful; and through it the grace of God much more abounded, in the sacrifice of Christ prefigured by it: but the moral law, as it came by Moses, is here intended; which entered with great pomp and solemnity on Mount Sinai; and intervened, or came between Adam's sin and Christ's sacrifice; and also came in besides, or over and above the promise of life by Christ; and may moreover be said to enter into the conscience of a sinner, with the power and energy of the Spirit of God: and the end of its entrance is,

that the offence might abound; meaning either the sin of Adam, he had been speaking of under that name, that that itself, and the imputation of it to his posterity, and also the pollution of human nature by it, together with all the aggravating circumstances of it, might appear more manifest; or sin in general, any and all actual transgressions, which abound through the law's discovering the evil nature of them, and so taking away all excuse, or pretext of ignorance: by prohibiting them, whereby the corrupt nature of man becomes more eager after them; and by accusing, threatening, terrifying, and condemning, on account of them: one view of the apostle in this, doubtless, is to show, that there can be no justification by the law:

but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: sin has abounded in human nature, in all the individuals of it; and grace has superabounded in the same nature, being assumed by the Son of God, and united to him, who has appeared in it "full of grace and truth", John 1:14, sin has abounded in all the powers and faculties of the soul, in the understanding, will, and affections, of an unregenerate man; but in regeneration, the grace of God much more abounds in the same powers and faculties, enlightening the understanding, subduing the will, and influencing the affections with love to divine things: sin abounded in the Gentile world, before the preaching of the Gospel in it; but afterwards grace did superabound in the conversion of multitudes in it from idols, to serve the living God; and where sin has abounded in particular persons to a very great height, grace has exceeded it, as in Manasseh, Mary Magdalene, Saul, and others.

{19} Moreover the law {a} entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more {b} abound:

(19) A preventing of an objection: why then did the law of Moses then enter? So that men might be so much more the guilty, and the benefit of God in Christ Jesus be all the more glorious.

(a) In addition to that disease which all men were infected with by being defiled with one man's sin, the law entered.

(b) Grace was poured so plentifully from heaven that it did not only counterbalance sin, but beyond this it surpassed it.

Romans 5:20-21. The comparison between Adam and Christ is closed. But in the middle between the two stood the law! How therefore could Paul leave unnoticed the relation of the law to both, the relation of this essential intervening element in the divine plan of salvation, the continuity of which was not to be hindered by the law, but, on the contrary, advanced to its blissful goal? The mention of it presented itself necessarily to him, especially after the utterance already contained in Romans 5:13, even without our thinking of an opponent’s objection,[1350] or, at least, of persons who fancied that they must themselves furnish something in order to secure for themselves eternal life (Hofmann); but it cannot be regarded as the proper goal of the entire discussion (Th. Schott), which would not at all correspond to so succinct an indication.

παρεισῆλθεν] there came in alongside (of the ἁμαρτία, which had already come in, Romans 5:12) into the world. See Vigerus, ed. Herm. p. 651; and van Hengel in loc[1351] Comp Philo in Loesner, p. 252, especially de temul. p. 263 C, where παρεισελθεῖν ἐῶσα means juxta se intrare sinens. On the idea comp Galatians 3:19. The notion of secrecy (Vulgate: subintravit, comp Erasmus, Annot., Send.) is not implied in παρά in itself, but would require to be suggested by the context, as in Galatians 2:4; Pol. i. 7, 3; i. 8, 4; ii. 55, 3 (where λάθρᾳ stands along with it); comp παρεισάγω, παρεισδύω, παρεισφέρω κ.τ.λ[1356], which likewise receive the idea of secrecy only from the context. But this is not at all the case here, because this idea would be at variance with the solemn giving of the law (Galatians 3:19; Acts 7:33), and the reverence of the Apostle for it (Romans 7:12 ff.) Reiche, Rothe, Tholuck, Rückert, and Philippi import the idea that the law is designated as an accessory institution, or its coming in as of subordinate importance in comparison with that of sin (Hofmann), as an element not making an epoch (Weiss, Dietzsch). It was not such, Galatians 4:24, nor is this sense implied in the word itself. Linguistically incorrect (for παρεισέρχ. does not mean coming in between, but coming in alongside) is the view of others: that it came in the middle between Adam (according to Theodoret and Reithmayr, Abraham) and Christ (Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Baumgarten-Crusius, Usteri, Ewald, Bisping and others). Nor does παρεισῆλθεν mean: it came in in opposition thereto, i.e. in opposition to sin (Mehring). Such a reference must necessarily have been implied, as in Galatians 2:4, in the context, but would be out of place here on account of the following ἵνα Κ.Τ.Λ[1357], which Mehring inappropriately takes as painful irony. Finally that παρά means obiter, ad tempus (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Cornelius à Lapide) is a pure fancy.

ἵνα πλεονάσῃ τὸ παράπτ.] in order that the transgression might be increased. The παράπτωμα can only be intended in the sense in which the reader must have understood it in virtue of the preceding text, Romans 5:15 ff., therefore of the Adamite transgression. This was the concrete destructive evil, which existed in the world as the beginning of sin and the cause of universal death. By the law, however, it was not to be abolished or annulled, but on the contrary (observe the prefixing of πλεονάσῃ) it was to be increased, i.e. to obtain accession in more and more παραπτώμασι. If therefore τὸ παράπτωμα is not to be taken collectively (Fritzsche, de Wette, van Hengel and others) just as little is ἵνα πλεονάσῃ to be rationalised so that it may be interpreted logice, of greater acknowledgment of sin (Grotius, Wolf, Nielsen, Baur), or of the consciousness of sin (J. Müller), since the corresponding ὑπερεπερίσσ. cannot be so taken; nor so, that ἵνα is to be explained as ecbatic (Chrysostom, and several Fathers quoted by Suicer, Thes. I. p. 1454, Koppe, Reiche), which is never correct, and is not justified by the groundless fear of a blasphemous and un-Pauline idea (Reiche). Comp Galatians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:56; and generally on Romans 1:24. Augustine (in Ps. cii. c. 15) rightly says by way of describing the intervening aim referred to: “non crudeliter hoc fecit Deus, sed consilio medicinae;.… augetur morbus, crescit malitia, quaeritur medicus et totum sanatur.”

παράπτωμα and ἁμαρτία are not certainly distinguished as Tittmann, Synon. p. 47, defines; nor yet, as Reiche thinks, simply thus, that both words indicate the same idea only under different figures (this would be true of παράπτωμα and ἁμαρτήμα); but in this way, that τὸ παράπτωμα invariably indicates only the concrete sin, the sinful deed; while ἡ ἁμαρτία may have as well the concrete (as always when it stands in the plural, comp on Ephesians 2:1) as the abstract sense. It has the latter sense in our passage, and it appears purposely chosen. For if the Adamite transgression, which was present in the world of men as a fact and with its baneful effect, received accession through the law, so that this evil actually existing in humanity since the fall increased, the sum total of sin in abstracto, which was among men, was thereby enlarged; the dominion of sin became greater, both extensively and intensively (comp Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 73). Therefore the discourse progresses thus: οὗ δὲ ἐπλέονασεν ἡ ἁμαρτία, and then ἐβασίλ. ἡ ἁμαρτία.

οὗ] where, local, of the domain, where etc. This field is generally the world of men, in which, however, the increase in sin here meant came from the people of the law, from Israel; but without the sphere of the οὗ being limited to the latter, since immediately, in Romans 5:21, he brings forward the universal point of view as it prevails throughout the section (in opposition to Hofmann). The temporal rendering: when (Grotius, de Wette, Fritzsche, Stölting) is likewise linguistically correct (time being represented under the aspect of space, comp ἀφʼ οὗ and the like), but less in harmony with the analogous passages, Romans 4:15; 2 Corinthians 3:17 (οὗ.… ἐκεῖ).

ὑπερεπερίσσ.] it became over-great, supra modum redundavit. The ἐπλεόνασεν had to be surpassed. Comp 2 Corinthians 7:4; 1 Timothy 1:14; Mark 7:37; 2 Thessalonians 1:3. But that it had surpassed itself (Hofmann), is a definite reference gratuitously introduced. The two correlative verbs are related simply as comparative and superlative.

ἵνα ὥσπερ κ.τ.λ[1363]] in order that, just as (formerly) sin reigned in virtue of death, so also (divine) grace should reign by means of righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the whole blessed aim of the ὑπερεπερίσσ. ἡ χάρις. Rothe incorrectly desires to treat ΟὟ ΔῈ.… ΧΆΡΙς as a parenthesis. This proposition is in fact so essential, that it is the necessary premiss for the opening up of that most blessed prospect. See moreover Dietzsch.

ἘΝ Τῷ ΘΑΝΆΤῼ] not unto death (Luther, Beza, Calvin, and many others), nor yet in death as the sphere of its rule (Tholuck, Philippi), but instrumentally, corresponding to the antithesis διὰ δικαιοσύνης εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον (which belong together). Sin has brought death into the world with it, and subjected all to death (Romans 5:12), ἘΦʼ ᾯ ΠΆΝΤΕς ἭΜΑΡΤΟΝ; thus sin exercised its dominion in virtue of death. This dominion however has given way to the dominion of grace, whose rule does not indeed abolish death, which having once entered into the world with sin has become the common lot of all, in itself, but accomplishes its object all the more blissfully, in that it confers a righteousness redounding to everlasting life.[1364] And grace exercises this bliss-bringing rule through the merit of its personal Mediator (πρόξενος, Chrysostom) Christ, who has earned it for men through His expiatory death. The full triumphant conclusion, διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίουη ̔μῶν (Comp Romans 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57 al[1366]) belongs to the entire thought ἡ χάρις βασιλεύσῃ.… ζ. αἰώνιον, upon which it impresses the seal. Here, also, the δικαιοσύνη is the righteousness of faith (not of life).

[1350] So even Cyril and Grotius; compare Mangold. The latter finds here a proof of the preponderantly Jewish-Christian character of the readers. But with as little right as it might be found in Galatians 3.

[1351] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1356] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1357] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1363] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1364] The pregnant sense, which Hofmann, on ver. 14, attributes to the βασιλεύειν, and seeks to apply analogically here also (comp. Dietzsch), is here least of all appropriate.

[1366] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

Romans 5:20 f. “The comparison between Adam and Christ is closed. But in the middle, between the two, stood the law” (Meyer). Paul must refer to it in such a way as to indicate the place it holds in the order of Providence, and especially to show that it does not frustrate, but further, the end contemplated in, the work of Christ. παρεισῆλθεν: see Romans 5:12 above. Sin entered into the world; the Law entered into the situation thus created as an accessory or subordinate thing; it has not the decisive signficance in history which the objective power of sin has. Words in which the same prepositions have a similar force are παρεισάγω, 2 Peter 2:1; παρεισδύνω, Judges 1:4; παρεισφέρω, 2 Peter 1:5 : cf. Galatians 2:4. There is often in such words, though not necessarily, the idea of stealth or secrecy: we might render “the law slipped in”. ἵνα πλεονάσῃ τὸ παράπτωμα: the purpose expressed by ἵνα is God’s: Winer, p. 575. The offence is multiplied because the law, encountering the flesh, evokes its natural antagonism to God, and so stimulates it into disobedience. Cf. Galatians 3:19 ff., and the development of this idea in chap. Romans 7:7 ff. As the offence multiplied, the need of redemption, and the sense of that need were intensified. οὗ δὲ ἐπλεόνασεν ἡ ἁμαρτία: ἁμαρτία seems used here, not παράπτωμα, because more proper to express the sum total of evil, made up of repeated acts of disobedience to the law. “Sin” bulked larger, as “offence” was added to “offence”. οὗ might seem to refer to Israel only, for it was there that the law had its seat; but there is something analogous to this law and its effects everywhere; and everywhere as the need of redemption becomes more pressing grace rises in higher power to meet it. ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν: “the ἐπλεόνασεν had to be surpassed” (Meyer). Cf. 2 Corinthians 7:4. Paul is excessively fond of compounds with ὑπέρ. The purpose of this abounding manifestation of grace is, “that as sin reigned in death, so also should grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ: it is more natural to oppose this to ζωὴ αἰώνιος, and regard death as “a province which sin had won, and in which it exercised its dominion” (Gifford), than to make it parallel (with Meyer) to διὰ δικαιοσύνης, and render “in virtue of death” (dat instr.). Grace has not yet attained to its full sovereignty; it comes to this sovereignty as it imparts to men the gift of God’s righteousness (διὰ δικαιοσύνης); its goal, its limit which is yet no limit, is eternal life. Some, however, construe εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον with διὰ δικαιοσύνης: through a righteousness which ends in eternal life: cf. εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς, Romans 5:18. διὰ Ἰ. Χ. τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν: this full rhetorical close has almost the value of a doxology.

20. Moreover] More simply, But, or (better) Now. In this verse and 21 a new consideration comes in, almost independent of the chain of reasoning, but meant to illustrate the surpassing “abundance” of grace (Romans 5:15-17).

the law] Lit. Law; but probably the reference is definite, as implied by the mention of Moses in Romans 5:14. See note on Romans 5:13, on the peculiar position of the Mosaic law.

entered] Lit. entered by the side; as if an afterthought in the great plan.—Cp. Galatians 3:19.

that the offence might abound] Q. d., “that the disease might be brought to the surface.” This bringing out of latent sinfulness was a real mercy. Cp. Romans 7:13. Obviously St Paul does not mean that this was the only, or chief, aim of the holy Law; but that in view of the question in hand (justification of sinners for Another’s sake,) such was its function. It was to bring out the fact that men were not only guiltyin Adam,” but personally sinful.

the offence] Man’s offences, regarded as a single whole. Just below we have “the sin;” the principle of which “the offence” was the expression.

sin] Lit. the sin. So just below, the grace. The reference is to sin and grace in their special aspects here.

much more abound] These words represent one compound verb in the Gr., and that verb is strengthened by the compounded preposition, and is itself a stronger word than that just used for “the abundance” of sin: where the sin multiplied, there the grace superabounded. On the thought here, see notes on Romans 5:16.

Romans 5:20. Νόμος, law) the omission of the article tends to increase the sublimity [elevation of tone].—παρεισῆλθε) came in stealthily by Moses, Romans 5:14. The Antithetic word is, entered, Romans 5:12; Sin therefore is more ancient than the law.—πλεονάσῃ, might abound) ch. Romans 7:7, etc. Sin is not reckoned in the absence of the law; but when the law came in stealthily, sin appeared as abounding; but, before the law, the fall of Adam should be held as the cause of death.—τὸ παράπτωμα, the offence) supply καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία and sin. All the sins of mankind, compared with the sin of Adam, are as it were offshoots; it is the root. Ἁμαρτία, sin, in the singular number, is considered as a plague most widely spread; and it also comprehends all actual παραπτώματα, offences, Romans 5:16.—ἡ ἁμαρτία [the] sin) or in other words, the offence and sin; for there is a difference between them;[54] see notes on Romans 5:14; the sin, in the singular number, John 1:29.—ὑπερεπερίσσευσε, superabounded [did much more abound] A third party conquering the conqueror of the conquered is superior to both: sin conquered man: grace conquers sin; therefore the power of grace is greatest.

[54] The latter being the result of the former.—ED.

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).

Romans 5:20The law entered (παρεισῆλθεν)

Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of παρά beside. Very significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. "It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life" (Dwight).

Might abound (πλεονάσῃ)

Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgment of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression. The other thought, however, may be included. See Romans 7:7, Romans 7:8, Romans 7:9, Romans 7:11.

Did much more abound (ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν)

Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4. Compare ὑπερεπλεόνασε abounded exceedingly, 1 Timothy 1:14; ὑπερπερισσῶς beyond measure, Mark 7:37; ὑπεραυξάνει; groweth exceedingly, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

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