15. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense 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.
15. Sed non sicut delictum, ita et donum; nam si unius delicto 1 multi mortui sunt, multo magis gratia Dei et donum Dei in gratia, quæ fuit unius hominis Christi, in multos abundavit.
He does not indeed even now expressly supply the deficiency of the former sentence, but simply teaches us, that there is a greater measure of grace procured by Christ, than of condemnation introduced by the first man. What some think, that the Apostle carries on here a chain of reasoning, I know not whether it will be deemed by all sufficiently evident. It may indeed be justly inferred, that since the fall of Adam had such an effect as to produce the ruin of many, much more efficacious is the grace of God to the benefit of many; inasmuch as it is admitted, that Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. But as they cannot be disproved, who wish to take the passage without this inference, I am willing that they should choose either of these views; though what next follows cannot be deemed an inference, yet it is of the same meaning. It is hence probable, that Paul rectifies, or by way of exception modifies, what he had said of the likeness between Christ and Adam.
But observe, that a larger number (plures) are not here contrasted with many (multis,) for he speaks not of the number of men: but as the sin of Adam has destroyed many, he draws this conclusion, -- that the righteousness of Christ will be no less efficacious to save many. 3
When he says,
1 Delicto -- fault,
"Adam's life after his fall was even as a slow dying, that reached its completion in his physical death; Christ's
2 "Sub contemptibili verborum humilitate." This sort of derogatory language as to the style of Scripture, Calvin had evidently learnt from the fathers. Chrysostom and Jerome did sometimes say most unwarrantable things in this respect, and that in a great measure because they did not understand the style of the New Testament, and in part with the view of taking away, by an admission, the force of objections alleged by admirers of Grecian and refined diction. The style of the New Testament is that of the Old; and hardly any of the fathers, except Origen and Jerome knew Hebrew, and the latter learnt it only in his old age, so that he could have had no great insight into its peculiarities. One like Chrysostom brought up in the refinements of Grecian literature, was a very unfit judge of the style of the New Testament, and hence it is that the criticisms of the Greek fathers in general are comparatively of very little value.
The whole of this passage, 12-19, is constructed according to the model of the Hebrew style; and when rightly understood, it will appear to contain none of those defects ascribed to it. -- Ed.
3 It is evident that is the many
"The many" are termed "all" in verse Romans 5:18, and again, "the many," in Romans 5:19. They are called "the many" and "all" alike with regard both to Adam and to Christ. Some maintain that the terms are coextensive in the two instances. That the whole race of man is meant in the one instances cannot be doubted: and is there any reason why the whole race of man should not be included in the second? Most clearly there is. The Apostle speaks of Adam and his posterity, and also of Christ and his people, or those "who receive abundance of grace,' or, "are made righteous;" and "the many" and the "all" are evidently those who belong to each separately. In no other way can the words with any consistency be understood. All who fell in Adam do not certainly "receive abundance of grace," and are not "made righteous." And it is not possible, as Professor Hodge observes, "so to eviscerate such declarations as these, as to make them to contain nothing more than that the chance of salvation is offered to all men." This is indeed contrary to evident facts. Nor can they mean, that a way of acceptance has been opened, which is suitable to all; for though this is true, it yet cannot be the meaning here. Hence "the many" and the "all," as to Adam, are all his descendants; and "the many" and the "all," as to Christ, are those who believe. -- Ed.