on Romans 5 :19
For, as by one man's disobedience, etc. - The explanation of this verse has been anticipated in the foregoing.
on Romans 5 :19
For ... - This verse is not a mere repetition of the former, but it is an explanation. By the former statements it might perhaps be inferred that people were condemned without any guilt or blame of theirs. The apostle in this verse guards against this, and affirms that they are in fact sinners. He affirms that those who are sinners are condemned, and that the sufferings brought in on account of the sin of Adam, are introduced because many were made sinners. Calvin says," Lest anyone should arrogate to himself innocence, (the apostle) adds, that each one is condemned because he is a sinner."
(The same objection which was stated against a previous quotation from Calvin applies here. The reformer does not mean that each is condemned because he is actually a sinner. He affirms that the ground of condemnation lies in something with which we are born, which belongs to us antecedent to actual transgression.)
By one man's disobedience - By means of the sin of Adam. This affirms simply the fact thai such a result followed from the sin of Adam. The word by διά dia is used in the Scriptures as it is in all books and in all languages. It may denote the efficient cause; the instrumental cause; the principal cause; the meritorious cause; or the chief occasion by which a thing occurred. (See Schleusner.) It does not express one mode, and one only, in which a thing is done; but that one thing is the result of another. When we say that a young man is ruined in his character by another, we do not express the mode, but the fact. When we say that thousands have been made infidels by the writings of Paine and Voltaire, we make no affirmation about the mode, but about the fact. In each of these, and in all other cases, we should deem it most inconclusive reasoning to attempt to determine the mode by the preposition by; and still more absurd if it were argued from the use of that preposition that the sins of the seducer were imputed to the young man; or the opinions of Paine and Voltaire imputed to infidels.
(What is here said of the various significations of διά dia is true. Yet it will not be denied, that in a multitude of instances it points to the real cause or ground of a thing. The sense is to be determined by the connection. "We have in this single passage no less than three cases, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:18-19, in which this preposition with the genitive indicates the ground or reason on account of which something is given or performed. All this is surely sufficient to prove that it may, in the case before us, express the ground why the sentence of condemnation has passed upon all men." To draw an illustration from the injury inflicted by Voltaire and Paine, will not serve the author's purpose, until he can prove, that they stand in a relation, to those whom they have injured, similar to what Adam bears to the human family. When we say that thousands have been ruined by Voltaire, it is true we can have no idea of imputation: yet we may fairly entertain such an idea when it is said, "all man. kind have been ruined by Adam.")
Many - Greek, The many, Romans 5:15. "Were made" (κατεσταθησαν katestathēsan). The verb used here, occurs in the New Testament in the following places: Matthew 24:45, Matthew 24:47; Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23; Luke 12:14, Luke 12:42, Luke 12:44; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:10, Acts 7:27, Acts 7:35; Acts 17:15; Romans 5:19; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 8:3; James 3:6; James 4:4; 2 Peter 1:8. It usually means to constitute, set, or appoint. In the New Testament it has two leading significations.
(1) to appoint to an office, to set over others (Matthew 24:45, Matthew 24:47; Luke 12:42, etc.); and,
(2) It means to become, to be in fact, etc.; James 3:6, "so is the tongue among our members," etc.
That is, it becomes such; James 4:4, "The friendship of the world is enmity with God; it becomes such; it is in fact thus, and is thus to be regarded. The word is, in no instance, used to express the idea of imputing that to one which belongs to another. It here either means that this was by a constitution of divine appointment that they in fact became sinners, or simply declares that they were so in fact. There is not the slightest intimation that it was by imputation. The whole scope of the argument is, moreover, against this; for the object of the apostle is not to show that they were charged with the sin of another, but that they were in fact sinners themselves. If it means that they were condemned for his act, without any concurrence of their own will, then the correspondent part will be true, that all are constituted righteous in the same way; and thus the doctrine of universal salvation will be inevitable. But as none are constituted righteous who do not voluntarily avail themselves of the provisions of mercy, so it follows that those who are condemned, are not condemned for the sin of another without their own concurrence; nor unless they personally deserve it.
Sinners - Transgressors; those who deserve to be punished. It does not mean those who are condemned for the sin of another; but those who are violators of the Law of God. All who are condemned are sinners. They are not innocent persons condemned for the crime of another. People may be involved in the consequences of the sins of others without being to blame. The consequences of the crimes of a murderer, a drunkard, a pirate may pass over from them, and affect thousands, and overwhelm them in ruin. But this does not prove that they are blameworthy. In the divine administration none are regarded as guilty who are not guilty; none are condemned who do not deserve to be condemned. All who sink to hell are sinners.
By the obedience of one - Of Christ. This stands opposed to the disobedience of Adam, and evidently includes the entire work of the Redeemer which has a bearing on the salvation of people; Philippians 2:8, "He ...became obedient unto death."
Shall many - Greek, The many; corresponding to the term in the former part of the verse, and evidently commensurate with it; for there is no reason for limiting it to a part in this member, any more than there is in the former.
Be made - The same Greek word as before be appointed, or become. The apostle has explained the mode in which this is done; Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 4:1-5. That explanation is to limit the meaning here. No more are considered righteous than become so in that way. And as all do not become righteous thus, the passage cannot be adduced to prove the doctrine of universal salvation.
The following remarks may express the doctrines which are established by this much-contested and difficult passage.
(1) Adam was created holy; capable of obeying law; yet free to fall.
on Romans 5 :19
5:19 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.