on Romans 5 :17
Death reigned by one - Death is here personified, and is represented as reigning over the human race; and death, of course, reigns unto death; he is known as reigning, by the destruction of his subjects.
Shall reign in life - Those who receive, retain, and improve the abundant grace offered by Jesus Christ, shall be redeemed from the empire of death, and exalted to the throne of God, to live and reign with him ever, world without end. See Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 2:11; Revelation 3:21.
If we carefully compare Romans 5:15 with Romans 5:17, we shall find that there is a correspondence between περισσειαν, the abounding, Romans 5:17, and επερισευσε hath abounded, Romans 5:15; between της δωρεας της δικαιοσυνης, the gift of righteousness, i.e. justification, Romans 5:17, and ἡ δωρεα εν χαριτι, the gift by grace, Romans 5:15; therefore, if we understand the abounding of grace, and the gift of justification, Romans 5:17, we shall understand the grace of God, and the gift by grace which hath abounded unto the many, Romans 5:15. But the abounding of grace, and the gift of justification, Romans 5:17, is that grace and gift which is Received by those who shall reign in eternal life. Reigning in life is the consequence of receiving the grace and gift. Therefore, receiving the grace is a necessary qualification on our part for reigning in life; and this necessarily implies our believing in Christ Jesus, as having died for our offenses, receiving the grace so freely offered us; using the means in order to get more grace, and bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit. Receive must here have the same sense as in Matthew 13:20 : He heareth the word, and anon with joy Receiveth it. John 1:12 : But as many as Received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. John 3:11 : Ye Receive not our witness. - See also John 3:32, John 3:33. John 5:43 : I am come in my Father's name, and ye Receive me not. John 12:48 : He that Receiveth not my words. John 13:20 : He that receiveth whomsoever I send, Receiveth me. John 14:17 : The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot Receive. John 17:8 : I have given them the words which thou gavest me; and they have Received them. In all these passages it is evident that receiving and not receiving imply improving or not improving.
on Romans 5 :17
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.
on Romans 5 :17
5:17 There is a difference between grace and the gift. Grace is opposed to the offence; the gift, to death, being the gift of life.