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Romans Chapter Five


Romans 5

Thus, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Remark here also the difference of Abraham's faith and ours. He believed God could perform what He promised. We are called to believe He has performed. Faith in God's word, believing God, and this faith laying hold on His power in resurrection, [1] of the whole effect of our sins. It reposes in God's power as having wrought this deliverance for us, and justified us therein. Christ has been delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification. [2] The apostle had established the great principles. He comes now to the source and application of all (that is to say, their application to the condition of the soul in its own feelings). He sets before us the effect of these truths when received by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost. The work is done; the believer has part in it, and is justified. Having been justified, we have peace with God, we stand in divine favour, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We believe in a God who has intervened in power to raise Him from the dead who had borne our offences, and who, being raised, is the eternal witness that our sins are put away, and that the only true God is He who has done it in love. I have then peace with Him; all my sins are blotted out-annulled-by the work of Christ; my unburdened heart knows the Saviour God. I stand as a present thing in that grace or favour, God's blessed present favour resting on me, which is better than life. Through Christ, entered into His presence, I am even now in the enjoyment of His favour, in present grace. All the fruits of the old man are cancelled before God by the death of Christ. There cannot be a question as to my sins between me and God. He has nothing to impute to me-that has been all settled in Christ's death and resurrection. As to the present time, I am brought into His presence in the enjoyment of His favour. Grace characterises my present relationship with God. Further, all my sins having been put away according to the requirements of God's glory, and Christ being risen from the dead, having met all that glory, I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God It is a full well-grounded hope of being in it, not a coming short of it. All is connected with God Himself, with, and according to, His perfections, the favour of God, and His glory for our hope. All is connected with His power in resurrection-peace with God already settled, the present favour of God, and the hope of glory.

Remark here that justification is distinct from peace. "Having been justified, we have peace." Justification is my true state before God, by virtue of the work of Christ, of His death, and of resurrection. Faith, thus knowing God, is at peace with God; but this is a result, like the present enjoyment of the grace wherein we stand. Faith believes in the God who has done this, and who-exercising His power in love and in righteousness-has raised from the dead the One who bore my sins, having entirely abolished them, and having perfectly glorified God in so doing. On this ground, too, "by Him" we have found access into the full favour of God in which we stand. And what is the result? It is glory; we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. It is God who is the root and the accomplisher of all. It is the gospel of God, the power of God in salvation, the righteousness of God, and it is into the glory of God that we are introduced in hope. Such is the efficacy of this grace with regard to us; it is peace, grace or favour, glory. One would say, This is all we can have: the past, present, and future are provided for.

Nevertheless there is more. First, practical experience. We pass in fact through tribulations; but we rejoice in this, because it exercises the heart, detaches us from the world, subdues the will, the natural working of the heart, purifies it from those things which dim our hope by filling it with present things, in order that we may refer more to God in all things, which, after all, are entirely directed by Him whose faithful grace ministered all this to us. We learn better that the scene in which we move passes away and changes, and is but a place of exercise, and not the proper sphere of life. Thus hope, founded on the work of Christ, becomes more clear, more disentangled from the mixture of that which is of man here below; we discern more clearly that which is unseen and eternal, and the links of the soul are more complete and entire with that which is on before us. Experience, which might have discouraged nature, works hope, because, come what may, we have the key to all, because the love of God who has given us this hope, made clearer by these exercises, is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us, who is the God of love dwelling in us.

Nevertheless, while giving this inward foundation of joy, the Spirit is careful to refer it to God, and to what He has done outside us, as regards the proof we have of it, in order that the soul may be built upon that which is in Him, and not on that which is in ourselves. This love is indeed in us; it sweetly explains all; but the love which is there through the presence of the Holy Ghost is the love of God, proved, namely, in that when we were destitute of all strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. The due time was when man had been demonstrated to be ungodly, and without strength to come out of this condition, although God, under the law, shewed him the way. Man can devote himself when he has an adequate motive; God has [3] to Himself, in that, when there was no motive for Him in us, when we were nothing but sinners, Christ died for us! The source was in Himself, or rather was Himself. What a joy to know that it is in Him and of Him that we have all these things!

God, then, having reconciled us to Himself according to the prompting of His own heart, when we were enemies, will much more, now that we are justified, go on to the end; and we shall be saved from wrath through Christ. Accordingly he adds, speaking of the means, "If we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," by that which was, so to speak, His weakness, "much more shall we be saved by his life," the mighty energy in which He lives eternally. Thus the love of God makes peace with regard to that which we were, and gives us security with regard to our future, making us happy withal in the present. And it is that which God is that secures to us all these blessings. He is love-full of consideration for us, full of wisdom.

But there is a second "not only," after our state-peace, grace, and glory-what seemed complete and is complete salvation, had been established. "Not only" do we joy in tribulation, but we joy in God. We glory in Himself. This is the second part of the Christian's blessed experience of the joy which results from our knowledge of God's love in Christ, and our reconciliation by Him. The first was that he gloried in tribulation because of its effect, divine love being known The second is the love of God Himself in man. This known, we glory, not only in our salvation, and even in tribulation, but knowing such a Saviour God (a God who has raised up Jesus from the dead, and has saved us in His love), we glory in Him. Higher joy than this we cannot have.

This closes this section of the epistle, in which, through the propitiation made by Christ, the putting away of our sins, and the love of God Himself, has been fully made good and revealed: peace, grace possessed, and glory in hope; and that by the pure love of God Himself known in Christ's dying for sinners. It is purely of God and thus divinely perfect. It was no matter of experience, whatever joy flowed from it, but God's own acting from Himself, and so revealing Himself in what He is. Up to this, sins and personal guilt are treated of; now, sin and the state of the race. The pure favour of God towards us, beginning with us as sinners, is wonderfully brought out, going on to our rejoicing in Himself who has been, and is, such to us.

Having given the foundation and the source of salvation, and the confidence and enjoyment that flow from it, having based all on God, who had to do with those who were nothing but sinners devoid of all strength, and that by the death of Christ, the question of our sins was settled-that for which each man would have had to be judged according to what each had respectively done. Lawless, or under law, all were guilty; a propitiatory, or mercy-seat, was set forth in the precious blood of Christ, peace made for the guilty, and God revealed in love. But this has carried us up higher. We have to do with God, and man as he is as a present thing. It is a question of sinful man; the Jew had no privilege here, he had nothing to boast of. He could not say, sin came in by us and by the law. It is man, sin, and grace that are in question. The apostle takes up this fundamental and essential question-not sins and guilt to be judged of hereafter if not repented of, but the present state of man.

Man had nothing to boast of either. The God of grace is before our eyes, acting with regard to sin, when there was nothing else, save that law had aggravated the case by transgressions. Now sin came in by one man, and by sin death. This brings us to the condition of the race, not merely the acts of the individuals. That condition was exclusion from God, and an evil nature. All were alike in it, though surely each had added his own personal sins and guilt. Sin had come in by one, and death by sin. And thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For sin was in the world before the law. Nor did the law add much to the advantage of man's condition; [4] his sin to him by giving him knowledge of it and forbidding it. Nevertheless, although there had been no imputation according to the government of God in virtue of an imposed and known rule, yet death reigned-a constant proof of sin (moreover, the history of Genesis made all this incontestable, even to the Jew)-over those who had not broken a covenant founded on a known commandment, [5] had done; and the Jews also, after the law was given. Men, between Adam and Moses, when there was no question of a law, as there was both before and after that interval, died just the same-sin reigned.

We must observe here that from the end of verse 12 to that of 17 is a parenthesis: only the idea is developed, as in similar cases. In the parenthesis the apostle, after having presented Adam as the figure of Him who was to come-of Christ, argues that the character of the gift cannot be inferior to that of the evil. If the sin of the one first man was not confined in its effects to him who committed it, but extended to all those who as a race were connected with him, with much greater reason shall the grace which is by one, Christ Jesus, not end in Him, but embrace the many under Him also. And with regard to the thing, as well as to the person-and here the law is in view-one single offence brought in death, but grace remits a multitude of offences. Thus it could suffice for that which the law had made necessary. And, as to the effect, death has reigned; but by grace, not only shall life reign, but we shall reign in life by One according to the abundance of grace-by Jesus Christ.

In verse 18 the general argument is resumed in a very abstract way. "By one offence," he says, "towards all for condemnation, even so by one accomplished righteousness (or act of righteousness) towards all men, for justification of life." One offence bore-in its bearing, so to speak, referred to all, and so it was with the one act of righteousness. This is the scope of the action in itself. Now for the application: for as by the disobedience of one man (only) many are constituted sinners, so by the obedience of one (only) many are constituted righteous It is still the thought that the act of the individual is not confined, as to its effects, within the limits of his own person. It affects many others, bringing them under the consequences of that act. It is said "all," when the scope of the [6] is spoken of; "the many," when it is the definitive effect with regard to men; that is, the "many" who were in connection with him who accomplished the act.

This then was outside the law, though the law might aggravate the evil. It was a question of the effect of the acts of Adam and of Christ, and not of the conduct of individuals, to which evidently the law related. It is by one man's disobedience the many (all men) were made sinners, not by their own sins. Of sins each has his own: here it is a state of sin common to all Of what use then was the law? It came in, as it were, exceptionally, and accessory to the chief fact, [7] might abound." But not only where the offence, but where sin abounded-for under the law and without the law it has abounded-grace has superabounded; in order that, as sin has reigned in death, grace should reign through righteousness in eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. If where sin reigns righteousness had reigned, it would have been to condemn the whole world. It is grace that reigns-the sovereign love of God. Righteousness is on a level with the evil, when it deals with evil, by the fact that it is righteousness; but God is above it, and acts, and can act-has a right to act-according to His own nature; and He is love. Is it that He sanctions unrighteousness and sin? No, in His love He brings about the accomplishment of divine righteousness by Jesus Christ. He has accomplished in Him that divine righteousness in raising Him to His right hand. But this is in virtue of a work wrought for us, in which He has glorified God. Thus He is our righteousness, we the righteousness of God in Him. It is the righteousness of faith, for we have it by believing in Him. It is love which-taking the character of grace when sin is in question-reigns, and gives eternal life above and beyond death-life that comes from above and ascends thither again; and that in divine righteousness, and in connection with that righteousness, magnifying it and manifesting it through the work of Jesus Christ, in whom we have this life, when He had wrought what brought out divine righteousness, in order that we might possess eternal life and glory according to it. If grace reigns, it is God who reigns. That righteousness should be maintained is that which His nature required. But it is more than maintained according to the measure of the claim God had on man as such. Christ was perfect surely as man; but He has glorified what God is Himself, and, He being raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, God has glorified His righteousness by setting Him at His right hand, as He did His love in giving Him. It is now righteousness in salvation given by grace to those who possessed none-given in Jesus, who by His work laid the full ground for it in glorifying God with regard even to sin, in the place where in this respect all that God is has been displayed.

The fulfilment of the law would have been man's righteousness: man might have gloried in it. Christ has glorified God-a most weighty point in connection with righteousness, connecting it withal with glory. And grace imparts this to the sinner by imputation, accounting him righteous according to it, introducing him in the glory which Christ merited by His work-the glory in which He was as Son before the world began.

But alas! in this glorious redemption accomplished by grace, which substitutes the righteousness of God and the person of the second Adam for the sinand the person of the first, the perversity of the flesh can find occasion for the sin which it loves, or at least to charge the doctrine with it. If it is by the obedience of One that I am constituted righteous, and because grace superabounds, let us sin that it may abound: that does not touch this righteousness, and only glorifies this superabundance of grace. Is this the apostle's doctrine? or a legitimate consequence of his doctrine? In no wise. The doctrine is, that we are brought into God's presence through death, in virtue of the work which Christ therein accomplished, and by having a part in that death. Can we live in the sin to which we are dead? It is to contradict oneself in one's own words. But, being baptised unto Christ (in His name, to have part with Him, according to the truth contained in the revelation we have of Him), I am baptised to have part in His death for through this it is that I have this righteousness in which He appears before God, and I in Him. But it is to sin that He has died. He has done with it for ever. When He died, He who knew no sin came out of that condition of life in flesh and blood, to which in us sin attached, in which we were sinners; and in which He the sinless One, in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sacrifice for sin, was made sin for us. [8] We have then been buried with Him by baptism for death (v. 4), having part in it, entering into it by baptism which represents it, in order that, as Christ was raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father, we also should walk in newness of life. In a word I am brought into the participation of this divine and perfect righteousness by having part in death unto sin; it is impossible therefore that it should be to live in it. Here it is not duty that is spoken of, but the nature of the thing. I cannot die to a thing in order to live in it. The doctrine itself refutes as absolute nonsense the argument of the flesh, which under the pretence of righteousness will not recognise our need of grace. [9]


[1] Not that the body of course is yet renewed.

[2] I reject entirely the interpretation "because we have been justified." It is not the force of the Greek, and by excluding faith from our being justified contradicts the beginning of chapter 5.

[3] The word is emphatic in the original, ('eautou') His own love, v. 8.

[4] The word "imputed" in this passage (chap. 5:13) is not the same as righteousness imputed, or faith imputed for righteousness. It means an act (or sum) put to the account of another, not esteeming the person to be such or such.

[5] This is a quotation from Hosea 6:7 according to its true sense, which accuses Israel of having done the same thing as Adam. "But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant."

[6] The same distinction, with the same difference in the preposition, is found in connection with the righteousness of God, when the apostle speaks of the efficacy of the blood: only he points out who the many are, because the object of faith is presented rather than the efficacy of the work, although this is supposed, chapter 3:22 ('oikaiosune de Theou dia pisteoos Iesou Christou eis pantas, kai epi pantas tous pisteuontas' LIT: "righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ towards all and upon all those who believe"); unto all, and upon all believers. So here it was by one offence ('eis pantas' LIT: "towards all,") and then the many connected with Christ are constituted righteous by His obedience.

[7] Not sin. Sin was already there; the law made each of its motions a positive offence.

[8] This does not refer simply to bearing our sins: that is the subject of the first part of the epistle. The condition in which we were, as a whole race, was that of fallen sinful Adam. Christ the sinless One came and stood for us and God's glory substitutively; that is, as a sacrifice in that place, He was made sin, underwent the forsaking of God, and, glorifying God, died in and to the place, to the whole condition of being, in which we were, and in which, as made sin, He stood for us before God. This work, though done as and for man, I doubt not, goes farther than our salvation. He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He takes away, as God's Lamb, the sin of the world. His sacrifice is the basis of the condition of that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

[9] Note, we are not here viewed as risen with Christ; the believer being always viewed here, as I have said, as being on the earth, though alive in Christ and justified, it is used as a ground for practice and walk here.

── John DarbySynopsis of Romans


Romans 5

Chapter Contents

The happy effects of justification through faith in the righteousness of Christ. (1-5) That we are reconciled by his blood. (6-11) The fall of Adam brought all mankind into sin and death. (12-14) The grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ, has more power to bring salvation, than Adam's sin had to bring misery, (15-19) as grace did superabound. (20,21)

Commentary on Romans 5:1-5

(Read Romans 5:1-5)

A blessed change takes place in the sinner's state, when he becomes a true believer, whatever he has been. Being justified by faith he has peace with God. The holy, righteous God, cannot be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. This is through our Lord Jesus Christ; through him as the great Peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man. The saints' happy state is a state of grace. Into this grace we are brought, which teaches that we were not born in this state. We could not have got into it of ourselves, but we are led into it, as pardoned offenders. Therein we stand, a posture that denotes perseverance; we stand firm and safe, upheld by the power of the enemy. And those who have hope for the glory of God hereafter, have enough to rejoice in now. Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation. Patient sufferers have most of the Divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works needful experience of ourselves. This hope will not disappoint, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints. A right sense of God's love to us, will make us not ashamed, either of our hope, or of our sufferings for him.

Commentary on Romans 5:6-11

(Read Romans 5:6-11)

Christ died for sinners; not only such as were useless, but such as were guilty and hateful; such that their everlasting destruction would be to the glory of God's justice. Christ died to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins; and we were yet sinners when he died for us. Nay, the carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself, Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21. But God designed to deliver from sin, and to work a great change. While the sinful state continues, God loathes the sinner, and the sinner loathes God, Zechariah 11:8. And that for such as these Christ should die, is a mystery; no other such an instance of love is known, so that it may well be the employment of eternity to adore and wonder at it. Again; what idea had the apostle when he supposed the case of some one dying for a righteous man? And yet he only put it as a thing that might be. Was it not the undergoing this suffering, that the person intended to be benefitted might be released therefrom? But from what are believers in Christ released by his death? Not from bodily death; for that they all do and must endure. The evil, from which the deliverance could be effected only in this astonishing manner, must be more dreadful than natural death. There is no evil, to which the argument can be applied, except that which the apostle actually affirms, sin, and wrath, the punishment of sin, determined by the unerring justice of God. And if, by Divine grace, they were thus brought to repent, and to believe in Christ, and thus were justified by the price of his bloodshedding, and by faith in that atonement, much more through Him who died for them and rose again, would they be kept from falling under the power of sin and Satan, or departing finally from him. The living Lord of all, will complete the purpose of his dying love, by saving all true believers to the uttermost. Having such a pledge of salvation in the love of God through Christ, the apostle declared that believers not only rejoiced in the hope of heaven, and even in their tribulations for Christ's sake, but they gloried in God also, as their unchangeable Friend and all-sufficient Portion, through Christ only.

Commentary on Romans 5:12-14

(Read Romans 5:12-14)

The design of what follows is plain. It is to exalt our views respecting the blessings Christ has procured for us, by comparing them with the evil which followed upon the fall of our first father; and by showing that these blessings not only extend to the removal of these evils, but far beyond. Adam sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and so came to his children. Thus in him all have sinned. And death is by sin; for death is the wages of sin. Then entered all that misery which is the due desert of sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal death. If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape. In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe, that sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses. And death reigned in that long time, not only over adults who wilfully sinned, but also over multitudes of infants, which shows that they had fallen in Adam under condemnation, and that the sin of Adam extended to all his posterity. He was a figure or type of Him that was to come as Surety of a new covenant, for all who are related to Him.

Commentary on Romans 5:15-19

(Read Romans 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.

Commentary on Romans 5:20,21

(Read Romans 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.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Romans


Romans 5

Verse 1

[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Being justified by faith — This is the sum of the preceding chapters.

We have peace with God — Being enemies to God no longer, Romans 5:10; neither fearing his wrath, Romans 5:9. We have peace, hope, love, and power over sin, the sum of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters. These are the fruits of justifying faith: where these are not, that faith is not.

Verse 2

[2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Into this grace — This state of favour.

Verse 3

[3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

We glory in tribulations also — Which we are so far from esteeming a mark of God's displeasure, that we receive them as tokens of his fatherly love, whereby we are prepared for a more exalted happiness. The Jews objected to the persecuted state of the Christians as inconsistent with the people of the Messiah. It is therefore with great propriety that the apostle so often mentions the blessings arising from this very thing.

Verse 4

[4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And patience works more experience of the sincerity of our grace, and of God's power and faithfulness.

Verse 5

[5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Hope shameth us not — That is, gives us the highest glorying. We glory in this our hope, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts - The divine conviction of God's love to us, and that love to God which is both the earnest and the beginning of heaven.

By the Holy Ghost — The efficient cause of all these present blessings, and the earnest of those to come.

Verse 6

[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

How can we now doubt of God's love? For when we were without strength - Either to think, will, or do anything good.

In due time — Neither too soon nor too late; but in that very point of time which the wisdom of God knew to be more proper than any other.

Christ died for the ungodly — Not only to set them a pattern, or to procure them power to follow it. It does not appear that this expression, of dying for any one, has any other signification than that of rescuing the life of another by laying down our own.

Verse 7

[7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

A just man — One who gives to all what is strictly their due The good man - One who is eminently holy; full of love, of compassion, kindness, mildness, of every heavenly and amiable temper.

Perhaps-one-would-even-dare to die — Every word increases the strangeness of the thing, and declares even this to be something great and unusual.

Verse 8

[8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

But God recommendeth — A most elegant expression. Those are wont to be recommended to us, who were before either unknown to, or alienated from, us.

While we were sinners — So far from being good, that we were not even just.

Verse 9

[9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

By his blood — By his bloodshedding.

We shall be saved from wrath through him — That is, from all the effects of the wrath of God. But is there then wrath in God? Is not wrath a human passion? And how can this human passion be in God? We may answer this by another question: Is not love a human passion? And how can this human passion be in God? But to answer directly: wrath in man, and so love in man, is a human passion. But wrath in God is not a human passion; nor is love, as it is in God. Therefore the inspired writers ascribe both the one and the other to God only in an analogical sense.

Verse 10

[10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

If — As sure as; so the word frequently signifies; particularly in this and the eighth chapter.

We shalt be saved — Sanctified and glorified.

Through his life — Who "ever liveth to make intercession for us."

Verse 11

[11] And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

And not only so, but we also glory — The whole sentence, from the third to the eleventh verse, may be taken together thus: We not only "rejoice in hope of the glory of God," but also in the midst of tribulations we glory in God himself through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Verse 12

[12] Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Therefore — This refers to all the preceding discourse; from which the apostle infers what follows. He does not therefore properly make a digression, but returns to speak again of sin and of righteousness.

As by one man — Adam; who is mentioned, and not Eve, as being the representative of mankind.

Sin entered into the world — Actual sin, and its consequence, a sinful nature.

And death — With all its attendants. It entered into the world when it entered into being; for till then it did not exist.

By sin — Therefore it could not enter before sin.

Even so — Namely, by one man.

In that — So the word is used also, 2 Corinthians 5:4.

All sinned — In Adam. These words assign the reason why death came upon all men; infants themselves not excepted, in that all sinned.

Verse 13

[13] (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

For until the law sin was in the world-All, I say, had sinned, for sin was in the world long before the written law; but, I grant, sin is not so much imputed, nor so severely punished by God, where there is no express law to convince men of it. Yet that all had sinned, even then, appears in that all died.

Verse 14

[14] Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Death reigned — And how vast is his kingdom! Scarce can we find any king who has as many subjects, as are the kings whom he hath conquered.

Even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression — Even over infants who had never sinned, as Adam did, in their own persons; and over others who had not, like him, sinned against an express law.

Who is the figure of him that was to come — Each of them being a public person, and a federal head of mankind. The one, the fountain of sin and death to mankind by his offence; the other, of righteousness and life by his free gift. Thus far the apostle shows the agreement between the first and second Adam: afterward he shows the differences between them. The agreement may be summed up thus: As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so by one man righteousness entered into the world, and life by righteousness. As death passed upon all men, in that all had sinned; so life passed upon all men, (who are in the second Adam by faith,) in that all are justified. And as death through the sin of the first Adam reigned even over them who had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression; so through the righteousness of Christ, even those who have not obeyed, after the likeness of his obedience, shall reign in life. We may add, As the sin of Adam, without the sins which we afterwards committed, brought us death ; so the righteousness of Christ, without the good works which we afterwards perform, brings us life: although still every good, as well as evil, work, will receive its due reward.

Verse 15

[15] But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Yet not — St. Paul 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, 1. In amplitude, Romans 5:15. 2. 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. 3. The reason of both is subjoined, Romans 5:17. 4. 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.

Verse 16

[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

The sentence was by one offence to Adam's condemnation — Occasioning the sentence of death to pass upon him, which, by consequence, overwhelmed his posterity.

But the free gift is of many offences unto justification — Unto the purchasing it for all men, notwithstanding many offences.

Verse 17

[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.)

There is a difference between grace and the gift. Grace is opposed to the offence; the gift, to death, being the gift of life.

Verse 18

[18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Justification of life — Is that sentence of God, by which a sinner under sentence of death is adjudged to life.

Verse 19

[19] For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

As by the disobedience of one man many (that is, all men) were constituted sinners - Being then in the loins of their first parent, the common head and representative of them all.

So by the obedience of one — By his obedience unto death; by his dying for us.

Many — All that believe.

Shall be constituted righteous — Justified, pardoned.

Verse 20

[20] Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

The law came in between — The offence and the free gift.

That the offence might abound — That is, the consequence (not the design) of the law's coming in was, not the taking away of sin, but the increase of it.

Yet where sin abounded, grace did much more abound — Not only in the remission of that sin which Adam brought on us, but of all our own; not only in remission of sins, but infusion of holiness; not only in deliverance from death, but admission to everlasting life, a far more noble and excellent life than that which we lost by Adam's fall.

Verse 21

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

That as sin had reigned-so grace also might reign — Which could not reign before the fall; before man had sinned.

Through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord — Here is pointed out the source of all our blessings, the rich and free grace of God. The meritorious cause; not any works of righteousness of man, but the alone merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. The effect or end of all; not only pardon, but life; divine life, leading to glory.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Romans


Chapter 5. Two Kings

Death Through Adam
Life Through Christ

I. Blessings of Justification

  1. Peace with God
  2. Pour Out God's Love into Our Hearts
  3. Rejoice in God

II. Through the One Man, Adam

  1. Sin Entered the World
  2. Death Reigned
  3. Through the Disobedience of the One Man

III. Through the One Man, Christ

  1. God's grace and the Gift
  2. Lift Reigns
  3. Through the Obedience of the One Man
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Five General Review
1) To appreciate the blessings that accompany justification
2) To comprehend more fully the grace offered through Jesus Christ
Having substantiated his thesis of "justification by faith" with
evidence from the Old Testament, Paul now discusses the blessings of
such justification.  First, there is peace with God (1).  Second, we
have access to grace in which we stand (2a).  Third, there is cause for
rejoicing in hope, so that we can glory even in tribulations (2b-4).
Fourth, there is God's love which He first demonstrated with the gift
of His Son (5-8).  Finally, there is salvation from God's wrath (9).
All of this is made possible when we are reconciled to God through the
death of His Son and should be the basis for endless rejoicing (10-11).
To explain further the way in which salvation is made possible, Paul 
compares Christ to Adam.  Through one man, Adam, sin and death entered 
the world, and the consequences have led to the death of many.  In a 
similar way, through one man, Christ, many may now become righteous.
Through Jesus' death on the cross, justification is made possible for 
many (12-19).
Upon comparing Christ with Adam, Paul briefly mentions that with the 
entering in of law sin abounded.  But the increase of sin has been 
adequately answered by the grace offered in Jesus Christ (20-21).
      1. Joy in anticipating God's glory (2b)
      2. Joy in tribulation, knowing even it results in more hope (3-4)
         a. For tribulation produces perseverance (3b)
         b. And perseverance develops character (4a)
         c. Such character gives one hope (4b)
      1. The assurance our hope will not be disappointed (5a)
      2. Poured out by the Holy Spirit (5b)
      3. Demonstrated by Christ's death while we were yet sinners (6-8)
      1. Through Jesus, just as we have been justified by His blood (9)
      2. Saved by His life, just as we were reconciled by His death (10)
      3. The basis for us to rejoice (11)
      1. Through Adam, sin entered the world, and death as a
         consequence (12a)
      2. Thus death spread, for all sinned (12b)
      3. From the time of Adam to Moses, death reigned, even over those
         who had not sinned like Adam did (13-14)
      1. Adam's offense brought many deaths, Christ's grace abounds
         even more (15)
      2. One offense produced the judgment of condemnation, but many
         offenses produced the free gift of justification (16)
      3. By Adam's offense death reigns, but those who receive the gift
         of righteousness will reign in life through Christ (17)
      4. Summary (18-19)
         a. Through Adam's offense judgment came to all men, resulting
            in condemnation (18a)
         b. Through Christ's act grace came to all, resulting in
            justification of life (18b)
         c. By Adam's disobedience many were made sinners (19a)
         d. By Christ's obedience many will be made righteous (19b)
      1. Law entered that sin might abound, but grace abounds much more
      2. Just as sin reigned in death, so grace reigns through
         righteousness to eternal life through Christ (21)
reconciliation - the act of bringing peace between two parties (e.g.,
                 between man and God)
transgression - violation of law; sin
death - physically:  separation of body and spirit;
        spiritually: separation between man and God
eternal life - the alternative to spiritual death, a result of
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Blessings Of Justification (1-11)
   - Comparing Christ With Adam (12-21)
2) Name some benefits we enjoy as the result of justification (1-2)
   - Peace with God, access to grace, rejoicing in hope
3) Why can Christians rejoice even in the middle of trials? (3-5)
   - Knowing trials can produce perseverance, character and hope
4) How did God demonstrate His love for us? (6-8)
   - By having Christ die for us when we were still sinners
5) What in addition to Jesus' death is involved in our ultimate
   salvation? (10)
   - His present life, which saves us from the wrath to come
6) What was the consequence of Adam's sin upon all men? (12)
   - Death (I understand Paul to mean physical death; to see why, I
     highly recommend Moses Lard's commentary on this passage.
     Commentaries by J. W. McGarvey and David Lipscomb take a similar
     view.  For the view that spiritual death is under consideration,
     see Robert L. Whiteside's commentary.)
7) What comparison is made between Adam and Christ? (12-19)
   - Just as Adam through his sin brought physical death to all, so
     Christ through His obedience will give life to all (through the
     resurrection - cf. 1 Co 15:21-22)
   - But Christ does even more; to those who will receive it, he offers
     "an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness" so they can
     reign in life through Jesus (cf. v. 17)
8) Which has abounded more:  sin, or grace? (20)
   - Grace


--《Executable Outlines


Two Kings

Death Through Adam

Life Through Christ


I.  Blessings of Justification

1.    Peace with God

2.    Pour Out God’s Love into Our Hearts

3.    Rejoice in God

II.Through the One Man, Adam

1.    Sin Entered the World

2.    Death Reigned

3.    Through the Disobedience of the One Man

III.       Through the One Man, Christ

1.    God’s Grace and the Gift

2.    Life Reigns

3.    Through the Obedience of the One Man

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament