on Romans 5 :18
Therefore, as by the offense of one, etc. - The Greek text of this verse is as follows: - Αρα ουν, ὡς δι' ἑνος παραπτωματος, εις παντας ανθρωπους εις κατακριμα· αυτω και ἑνος δικαιωματος, εις παντας ανθρωπους, εις δικαιωσιν ζωης; which literally rendered stands thus: - Therefore, as by one offense unto all men, unto condemnation; so likewise, by one righteousness unto all men, to justification of life. This is evidently an elliptical sentence, and its full meaning can be gathered only from the context. He who had no particular purpose to serve would, most probably, understand it, from the context, thus: - Therefore, as by one sin all men came into condemnation; so also by one righteous act all men came unto justification of life: which is more fully expressed in the following verse. Now, leaving all particular creeds out of the question, and taking in the scope of the apostle's reasoning in this and the preceding chapter, is not the sense evidently this? - Through the disobedience of Adam, a sentence of condemnation to death, without any promise or hope of a resurrection, passed upon all men; so, by the obedience of Christ unto death, this one grand righteous act, the sentence was so far reversed, that death shall not finally triumph, for all shall again be restored to life. Justice must have its due; and therefore all must die. The mercy of God, in Christ Jesus, shall have its due also; and therefore all shall be put into a salvable state here, and the whole human race shall be raised to life at the great day. Thus both justice and mercy are magnified; and neither is exalted at the expense of the other.
The apostle uses three remarkable words in these three verses: -
l. Δικαιωμα, justification, Romans 5:16.
2. Δικαιοσυνη, which we render righteousness, Romans 5:17; but is best rendered justification, as expressing that pardon and salvation offered to us in the Gospel: see the note on Romans 1:16.
3. Δικαιωσις, which is also rendered justification, Romans 5:18.
The first word, δικαιωμα, is found in the following places: Luke 1:6; Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26; Romans 5:16, Romans 5:18; Romans 8:4; Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:10; Revelation 15:4; Revelation 19:8; to which the reader may refer. δικαιωμα signifies, among the Greek writers, the sentence of a judge, acquitting the innocent, condemning and punishing the guilty; but in the New Testament it signifies whatever God has appointed or sanctioned as a law; and appears to answer to the Hebrew משפט יהוה mishpat Yehovah, the statute or judgment, of the Lord; It has evidently this sense in Luke 1:6 : Walking in all the commandments and Ordinances, δικαιωμασι, of the Lord blameless; and it has the like meaning in the principal places referred to above; but in the verse in question it most evidently means absolution, or liberation, from punishment, as it is opposed to κατακριμα, condemnation, Romans 5:18. See the note on Romans 1:16; and see Schleusner in voce.
The second word, δικαιοσυνη, I have explained at large in Romans 1:16, already referred to.
The third word δικαιωσις, is used by the Greek writers, almost universally, to denote the punishment inflicted on a criminal, or the condemnatory sentence itself; but in the New Testament where it occurs only twice, (Romans 4:25, he was raised for our justification, δικαιωσιν; and Romans 5:18, unto justification of life, δικαιωσιν ζωης), it evidently signifies the pardon and remission of sins; and seems to be nearly synonymous with δικαιωμα. Dr. Taylor thinks that " δικαιοσυνη is Gospel pardon and salvation, and has reference to God's mercy. δικαιωμα is our being set quite clear and right; or our being restored to sanctity, delivered from eternal death, and being brought to eternal life; and has reference to the power and guilt of sin. And δικαιωσις he thinks may mean no more than our being restored to life at the resurrection." Taking these in their order, there is:
First, pardon of sin.
Secondly, purification of heart, and preparation for glory.
Thirdly, the resurrection of the body, and its being made like to his glorious body, so as to become a fit tabernacle for the soul in a glorified state for ever and ever.
The same writer observes that, when the apostle speaks of forgiveness of sins simply, he insists on faith as the condition; but here, where he speaks of justification of life, he mentions no condition; and therefore he supposes justification of life, the phrase being understood in a forensic sense, to mean no more than the decree or judgment that determines the resurrection from the dead. This is a favourite point with the doctor, and he argues largely for it: see his notes.
on Romans 5 :18
Therefore - Wherefore (Ἄρα οὖν ara oun). This is properly a summing up, a recapitulation of what had been stated in the previous verses. The apostle resumes the statement or proposition made in Romans 5:12, and after the intermediate explanation in the parenthesis Romans 5:13-17, in this verse and the following, sums up the whole subject. The explanation, therefore, of the previous verses is designed to convey the real meaning of Romans 5:18-19.
As by the offence of one - Admitting this as an undisputed and everywhere apparent fact, a fact which no one can call in question.
Judgment came - This is not in the Greek, but it is evidently implied, and is stated in Romans 5:16. The meaning is, that all have been brought under the reign of death by one man.
Upon all men - The whole race. This explains what is meant by "the many" in Romans 5:15.
To condemnation - Romans 5:16.
Even so - In the manner explained in the previous verses. With the same certainty, and to the same extent. The apostle does not explain the mode in which it was done, but simply scares the fact.
By the righteousness of one - This stands opposed to the one offence of Adam, and must mean, therefore, the holiness, obedience, purity of the Redeemer. The sin of one man involved people in ruin; the obedience unto death of the other Philippians 2:8 restored them to the favor of God.
Came upon all men - (εἰς παντας ἀνθρώπους eis pantas anthrōpous. Was with reference to all people; had a bearing upon all people; was originally adapted to the race. As the sin of Adam was of such a nature in the relation in which he stood as to affect all the race, so the work of Christ in the relation in which he stood was adapted also to all the race. As the tendency of the one was to involve the race in condemnation, so the tendency of the other was to restore them to acceptance with God. There was an original applicability in the work of Christ to all people - a richness, a fulness of the atonement suited to meet the sins of the entire world, and restore the race to favor.
Unto justification of life - With reference to that justification which is connected with eternal life. That is, his work is adapted to produce acceptance with God, to the same extent as the crime of Adam has affected the race by involving them in sin and misery The apostle does not affirm that in fact as many will be affected by the one as by the other; but that it is suited to meet all the consequences of the fall; to be as wide-spread in its effects; and go be as salutary as that had been ruinous. This is all that the argument requires. Perhaps there could not be found a more striking declaration any where, that the work of Christ had an original applicability to all people; or that it is in its own nature suited to save all. The course of argument here leads inevitably to this; nor is it possible to avoid it without doing violence to the obvious and fair course of the discussion.
It does not prove that all will in fact be saved, but that the plan is suited to meet all the evils of the fall. A certain kind of medicine may have an original applicability to heal all persons under the same disease; and may be abundant and certain, and yet in fact be applied to few. The sun is suited to give light to all, yet many may be blind, or may voluntarily close their eyes. Water is adapted to the needs of all people, and the supply may be ample for the human family, yet in fact, from various causes, many may be deprived of it. So of the provisions of the plan of redemption. They are adapted to all; they are ample, and yet in fact, from causes which this is not the place to explain, the benefits, like those of medicine, water, science, etc. may never be enjoyed by all the race. Calvin concurs in this interpretation, and thus shows, that it is one which commends itself even to the most strenuous advocates of the system which is called by his name. He says, "He (the apostle) makes the grace common to all, because it is offered to all, not because it is in fact applied to all. For although Christ suffered for the sins or the whole world (nam etsi passus est Christus pro peccatis totius mundi), and it is offered to all without distinction (indifferenter), yet all do not embrace it." See Cal. Commentary on this place.
on Romans 5 :18
5:18 Justification of life - Is that sentence of God, by which a sinner under sentence of death is adjudged to life.