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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 16

Verse 16. And not, etc. This is the second point in which the effects of the work of Christ differ from the sin of Adam. The first part (Ro 5:15) was, that the evil consequences flowed from the sin of one MAN, Adam; and that the benefits flowed from the work of one MAN, Jesus Christ. The point in this verse is, that the evil consequences flowed from one CRIME, one act of guilt; but that the favours had respect to MANY ACTS of guilt. The effects of Adam's sin, whatever they were, pertained to the one sin; the effects of the work of Christ to many sins.

By one that sinned. (di enov amarthsantov). By means of one [man] sinning; evidently meaning by one offence, or by one act of sin. So the Vulgate, and many Mss.; and the connexion shows that this is the sense.

The gift. The benefits resulting from the work of Christ.

The judgment. The sentence; the declared penalty. The word expresses, properly, the sentence which is passed by a judge. Here it means the sentence which God passed, as a judge, on Adam for the one offence, involving himself and his posterity in ruin, Ge 2:17; Ge 3:17-19.

Was by one. By one offence; or one act of sin.

Unto condemnation. Producing condemnation; or involving in condemnation. It is proved by this, that the effect of the sin of Adam was to involve the race in condemnation, or to secure this as a result that all mankind would be under the condemning sentence of the law, and be transgressors. But in what way it would have this effect the apostle does not state. He does not intimate that his sin would be imputed to them; or that they would be held to be personally guilty for it. He speaks of a broad, everywhere perceptible fact, that the effect of that sin had been somehow to whelm the race in condemnation. In what mode this was done is a fair subject of inquiry; but the apostle does not attempt to explain it.

The free gift. The unmerited favor in by the work of Christ.

Is of many offences. In relation to many sins. It differs thus from the condemnation. That had respect to one offence; this has respect to many crimes. Grace therefore abounds.

Unto justification. See Barnes "Ro 3:24".

The work of Christ is designed to have reference to many offences, so as to produce pardon or justification in regard to them all. But the apostle here does not intimate how this is done. He simply states the fact, without attempting, in this place, to explain it; and as we know that that work does not produce its effect to justify without some act on the part of the individual, are we not hence led to conclude the same respecting the condemnation for the sin of Adam? As the work of Christ does not benefit the race unless it is embraced, so does not the reasoning of the apostle imply, that the deed of Adam does not involve in criminality and ill-desert unless there be some voluntary act on the part of each individual? However this may be, it is certain that the apostle has in neither case here explained the mode in which it is done. He has simply stated the fact, a fact which he did not seem to consider himself called on to explain. Neither has he affirmed that in the two cases the mode is the same. On the contrary, it is strongly implied that it is not the same, for the leading object here is to present not an entire resemblance, but a strong contrast between the effects of the sin of Adam and the work of Christ.

{y} "many offences" Isa 1:18

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