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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Romans 5



Other Authors

C. cc. 5–7. SECOND VINDICATION OF THE THEME. THE ETHICAL NEED AND BEARING OF THE GOSPEL, AS A POWER WHICH EFFECTS RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Power of the Gospel is explained, in contrast with νόμος, as a gift (χάρις) of new life in Christ.

Verse 1

1. δικαιωθέντες οὖν ἐκ πίστεως sums up the position gained. Notice that in these chapters (5–7) the word πίστις occurs only in these first two verses: πιστεύω occurs once only (Romans 6:8), and then in the simple sense of believe. The fact is that the first fundamental act of trust, when it has once brought man under the justifying love of GOD and the power of Christ’s life, becomes a permanent though progressive act of submission to and reliance upon that power, a continued act of will realising that power in itself, which is, on man’s side, the determining characteristic of the Christian life and is not by S. Paul described exclusively by any one name, but is involved in all the exhortations, and summed up in the phrases τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ζωῆς ἐν Χρ. . (Romans 8:1) and πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας (Romans 8:15).

εἰρήνην. Cf. Acts 10:36; John 16:33. With χάρις, it is the unfailing element in S. Paul’s salutations, and gives him his characteristic phrase ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης (Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:9 (cf. 7); 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ὁ κύριος τ. ε.); cf. Colossians 3:15; Hebrews 13:20). The cardinal passage is Ephesians 2:14-17. Like χάρις, it has special reference to the call of the Gentiles, but as involved in the wider conception of the establishment of man as man in a state of peace with GOD by the removal of sin. The first step is the justification of man upon faith: then that state has to be maintained.

ἔχωμεν, alibi ἔχομεν. A.V. ‘we have,’ R.V. ‘let us have.’ The mood of exhortation is clearly required by the context (against Field, ad loc[127]); S. Paul is passing from the description of the fundamental initial act of GOD in bringing man into this state, to the character and duties of the state so given. The verb ἔχειν is durative = to maintain hold on, and here it has its strict sense—let us maintain (better than the ambiguous ‘have’) peace; this requires further activities in man, and the continual help of the Lord; cf. Moulton, p. 110.

διὰ τ. κ. ἡ Ἰ. Χρ. The fuller name is given because each element in it is an assurance that the help will be given and will be effective, and ought to be claimed.

Verses 1-11

Romans 5:1-11. Introduction, describing the nature of the state in which we are, under the power of the Gospel: [1] Since, then, we are justified by GOD on the single condition of faith, let us maintain the state of peace with GOD, by the help of Him, [2] by whom we have been brought under this free favour of GOD, and ground our boasting on hope of attaining the perfection of this state in the future full manifestation of GOD in us; [3] and no less in the present straitened condition of our lives, [4] as an opportunity for endurance, proof of character and hope, that hope which cannot disappoint us because it is itself the effect of GOD’S love in us; [6] and that love, measured by what was done for us in Christ’s death for us while we were enemies and sinners, will certainly complete our salvation by the working of Christ’s life in us. [11] So, finally, let us boast in GOD by the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom, as I have said, we received that reconciliation which is now our state.

These verses describe the state of the Christian. It has been shown to be due to GOD’S free act of justification, requiring only man’s faith in Him; it is, summarily, a state of peace with GOD it was won by the Death of Christ, and is maintained by His Life; under present conditions it is a state of θλίψις, for the man must be tested; but the hope of maintaining and perfecting this state is warranted by the fact that the love which gave it to us will surely maintain us in it and perfect us for its complete realisation. The thought comes out at once that the power of the Gospel is Christ living in us: the section begins and ends with διὰ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡ. . Χρ.; cf. n. on Romans 1:17; the subject is resumed and fully treated in c. 8

Verse 2

2. δι' οὗ καὶ, the Person, who has brought us into this state by His Death and Resurrection, will help us to maintain it by His Life.

τὴν προσαγωγὴν. Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12 only. V[128], 1 Peter 3:18; cf. John 14:6; Hebrews 4:14 f. The v[129] in LXX[130] freq. of bringing persons and sacrifices before GOD for acceptance. Here of the initial approach; in Ephesians 3:12 of continual right of access.

ἐσχήκαμεν, ‘we obtained’—the ‘constative’ of ἔχω; Moulton, p. 145.

τῇ πίστει. Perh. = for our faith—the way has been opened for faith to approach GOD.

εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην. The demonstrative clearly shows that the reference is to GOD’S free favour shown to man in justifying him. The dominant meaning of χάρις in the Bible is GOD’S favour shown to man, the effect of His love. The word is a favourite with S. Paul, and has special but not exclusive reference to the light thrown upon GOD’S favour, by the inclusion of the Gentiles. This thought is implied here. They have been brought within the range of GOD’S favour, as described; cf. Hort, 1 Pet. p. 25 f., 49, 66 f.; Robinson, Eph. p. 221 f.; cf. Galatians 5:4; 1 Peter 5:12.

ἑστήκαμεν, ‘we stand’; cf. Moulton, p. 147; Burton, § 75, etc.; 1 Peter 5:12; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1.

καυχώμεθα. Indic., to be taken with δι' οὗ. Here is the Christian opportunity for boasting; cf. Romans 3:27.

ἐπ' ἐλπίδι τῆς δόξης τ. θ. The ground of Christian boasting is not a privileged or exclusive state, but a hope that by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ the glory of GOD will be revealed in man; it rests, then, on GOD’S favour and embraces mankind; cf. on Romans 3:23, Colossians 1:27.

Verse 3

3. οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ. Romans 5:11, Romans 8:23, Romans 9:10; 2 Corinthians 8:19; cf. 1 Timothy 5:13. With the ellipse only in S. Paul; not only is the hope of the future revelation a ground of boasting, but also the process of θλίψις, by which, under conditions of the present life, it is being worked out; cf. John 16:33; Acts 14:22. The idea is fully worked out in 2 Corinthians 4:8-12.

ἡ θλίψις. Romans 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:4.

Verse 4

4. δοκιμὴ. [1] The process of testing, 2 Corinthians 8:2; [2] the result—the temper given to the steel, Philippians 2:22; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 13:3 : here the latter; cf. 1 Peter 1:6 ff.; James 1:2; James 1:12. θλίψις produces in the Christian endurance or resistance, and this Christian endurance tempers character; the tempered character, as evidence of GOD’S working so far, itself produces hope; and this hope, so grounded and won, cannot disappoint him who has it.

Verse 5

5. καταισχύνει, in this connexion = brings the shame of disappointment; cf. Psalms 21:6; infra Romans 9:33; Philippians 1:20.

ὅτι ἡ ἀγάπη κ.τ.λ, Romans 5:5-10 enlarge upon the strength of the reasons for hope, an a fortiori argument from the love of GOD, as already shown in our call and justification in Christ, to the willingness and ability of that love for the completion of His work. Cf. Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39.

ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ = the love which is characteristic of GOD in His eternal nature, and therefore in His relation to man, constituting His true relation to man and making the Incarnation divinely natural; further this love is as it were by the agency of the Holy Spirit, resident in man, and becomes to him the power of moral and spiritual action by which the new character is originated and gradually developed in the processes of life. It is not the mere sentiment of affection, but an influence of the divine activity which creates its own image in its object and vitalises it into a life like its own. A faint reflection of this divine operation is seen in the way in which a father’s or a friend’s love influences character. The fundamental passage is John 17:26; cf. 1 John 4:12 et passim. In S. Paul note particularly 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (Lft’s note) and 2 Corinthians 5:14; Ephesians 3:19; infra Romans 8:35-36.

ἐκκέχυται. Cf. Acts 2:17-18; Acts 2:33.

ἐν ταῖς κ., the love of GOD has flooded our hearts.

διὰ πν. ἁγ. τ. δ. . Cf. Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:15. The gift of the Spirit is almost always referred to as a definite act in the past (ἔδωκεν, ἐλάβετε); cf. 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 3:2; Ephesians 1:13, alibi but n. pres. 1 Thessalonians 4:8 ref. Ezekiel 37:14. Pentecost was the date of the giving of the Spirit to the Church; baptism with the laying on of hands is the date for each individual.

πν. ἁγ. The first mention of the Holy Spirit in this epistle: the truth here indicated is developed in ch. 8.

Verse 6

6. εἴ γε. “Si quidem, 2 Corinthians 5:3 (v. l.); Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 4:21; Colossians 1:23 (classical),” Blass, p. 261. = if, as you will not dispute.

The connexion seems to be this: Christ’s death for us when we were still outside the operation of the Spirit is such an overwhelming proof of GOD’S love, that it must surely justify all the confidence we can put in it, now that by the indwelling of the Spirit it is a vital power within us. The connexion of these sentences is obscure: it is perhaps best to take εἴ γεἀπέθανεν as protasis, μόλις γὰρἀπέθανεν [8] as parenthesis; πολλῷ οὖν [9] picks up the apodosis: then Romans 5:10 in a very characteristic way repeats the main thought in a parallel pair of antithetic clauses. The whole 6–10 incl. is an expansion of Romans 5:5 b.

ἀσθενῶν, having ‘no power of ourselves to help ourselves.’ The word is specially chosen to mark the contrast with the new power which is in the Christian: not used quite in this way elsewhere.

ἔτι, with ὄντων, cf. Romans 5:8, A.V., R.V. But ἔτι almost invariably precedes the word it qualifies, except with negatives (e.g. Revelation 8:13) or rarely when it has special emphasis. So better here with κατὰ καιρὸν, ‘while there was yet opportunity,’ before the case was hopeless. The rhythm of the sentence points the same way.

ἀσεβῶν marks not the weakness, but the relation to GOD.

Verse 7

7. δικαίουἀγαθοῦ. Both masc. The idea is that the appeal of a righteous character hardly stirs the emotion; the good man with more that touches the heart may inspire such an act. Those for whom Christ died were neither.

τολμᾷ = ‘has the spirit to die’; cf. Field, ad loc[132], qu. Eur. Alc. 644.

Verse 7-8

7, 8 emphasise the uniqueness of this act of love. This parenthesis makes an anacoluthon, a constant mark in S. Paul of deep feeling.

Verse 8

8. συνίστησιν. Cf. Romans 3:5.

Verse 9

9. πολλῷ οὖν μᾶλλον. A fortiori. The hope of progress and perfection (Romans 5:2) which depends on the love of GOD is justified a fortiori by our experience of that love in the act of justification.

σωθησόμεθα δι' αὐ. ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς. The description, on the negative side, of the σωτηρία which is the result of the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). The ὀργῆς (cf. Romans 1:18 f.) consists now in a state of sin and hereafter in the consequences] of that state being persevered in. Note that justification does not remove the conflict with evil; it reveals GOD’S attitude of love to us and in us, and consequently enables us to engage in that conflict with hope.

Verse 10

10. repeats the a fortiori argument with amplification (cf. Ephesians 2:11 f.). The two clauses are exactly |[133], Romans 5:6; Romans 5:9.

κατηλλάγημεν ref. to δικαιωθέντες; cf. the aorists below. V[134] and subst. pec. to Rom. and 2 Cor. (alibi 1 Corinthians 7:11). ἀποκαταλλ. Eph., Col. only. διαλλ. and συναλλ., implying mutual reconciliation (cf. Matthew 5:24), are never used in this connexion. Always therefore of GOD reconciling (not, as being reconciled). It marks the same stage as δικαιοῦν; the means employed is the Death of Christ; man’s state, which necessitates it, is that of ἐχθροί, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι. The fullest passage is 2 Corinthians 5:18 f.

διὰ τοῦ θανάτου τ. υ. α. Cf. Colossians 1:20; see Romans 6:2 ff.

σωθησόμεθα includes both the maintenance of the state of peace and the final result; as does σωτηρία.

ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ. This again is worked out in Romans 6:2 f. = the resurrection life of the Lord as the sustaining environment and inspiration of the new life of the Christian; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:18 ff.

Verse 11

11. οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ returns to Romans 5:3. This return, after so long a break, is made easier by the parallelisms pointed out above, καυχώμενοι, part. for indic.; cf. Moulton, p. 224.

ἐν τῷ θεῷ. The essentially personal character of the whole relation is emphasised: our boast is not in a transaction or a state, but in GOD Himself and by the help of our Lord Jesus Christ—so summing up the whole argument. GOD loved, justified through Christ, gave the Spirit, will finish what He has begun.

N. This passage then marks the transition from the antithesis between πίστις and νόμος, as ground of justification, to the antithesis of χάρις and νόμος, as ground of the saving of man’s life; the faith in GOD, which accepts His justification, must lead us on to trust His good will and power to perfect the new life, which is the life of Christ in us. This is the supreme instance of His χάρις, His free favour to man. The range and manner in which this χάρις works are developed in the following sections.

Verses 12-21

12–21. This state depends upon a living relation of mankind to Christ, analogous to the natural relation to Adam, and as universal as that is. So it comes to pass that there is a parallel between the natural state of man and his new condition: by one who was man the sin which has been shown to be universal entered into man’s world, and this sin was the cause of man’s death, extending to all men because all actually sinned; [13] for that sin was in the world just in the degree that law was (sin not being reckoned without law) [14] is proved by the fact that death held supreme sway from Adam to Moses, even though the men of that time sinned not, as Adam did, against a positive external command (but only by falling away from the inner standard of well-doing which they had from GOD). [So far Adam is connected with men merely as the first sinner; their state was due to their own sins, and those not quite like Adam’s sin.] Now Adam is a type of Him that was to come. [15] There is a parallel between the transgression of Adam, and the gift of GOD in Christ; but only a qualified parallel: (α) it was the fall of the single man that led to the death of all, a human origin; the gift is the free favour of GOD in giving what He does give to all in the single man, and that man Jesus Christ, the Ascended Son. [16] Again (β) the effect of GOD’s gift is out of all proportion to the result which followed upon one man’s having sinned; for while the judgment of GOD followed upon one sin and involved condemnation, the gift of GOD follows upon many sins and involves acquittal of all. [17] For it is obvious that the sway of death established by one man’s sin, and through his action, is far more than overthrown by the kingship realised in life by the help of the one (man) Jesus Christ, which they will gain who accept the superabundance of the favour of GOD and His generous gift of righteousness (there is far more than a restoration of what was lost). [18] With these qualifications then the parallel may be stated: As one man’s transgression so affected all men as to bring them under GOD’s condemnation, so also one man’s enacted righteousness affects all men so as to bring them into a state of justification which involves life; for just as the disobedience of the one man was the means whereby all were put into the condition of sinners, so also the obedience of one man will bring all into the condition of righteous men (if, as has been shown, they exercise faith). [20] Now law, whether pre-Mosaic or Mosaic, was imported into man’s experience to multiply the fall; but where the acts and state of sin were thus multiplied, the favour of GOD was shown in still greater abundance in order that, in antithesis to the reign gained by sin in the state of death, the favour of GOD might gain sovereignty in a state of righteousness leading to life eternal by the aid and working of Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is perhaps the most condensed passage in all S. Paul’s writings. It is consequently almost impossible to give an interpretation with confidence. The fundamental thought appears to be to establish the universal range of the power of the Gospel, as answering to the universal range of sin and man’s need. The universality is then based in each case on the relation of the whole race to one man. As regards sin, its universality is related, in a way which must be called obscure, to the connexion of the race with Adam; their humanity is derived from him; and his fall has its results in them; this seems rather to be concluded from the observed fact that all came under the sentence of death pronounced on him for his fall, than upon any theory that in some sense they sinned in him; they died (15, 17) because of his sin, but also they sinned themselves; it was the death rather than the sin that they inherited, and individually they justified, so to speak, the verdict of death by their own sin. What they inherited was a nature liable to death; they made it, each for himself, a sinful nature. Note that it is not said that men sinned in Adam or because Adam sinned; but that man died because Adam sinned; death established the mastery thus initiated because men also sinned. At last the vicious series was broken: one Man broke the universal practice of sin, enacted righteousness and by so doing brought within the reach of all men justification, as GOD’s free gift, and a power to realise that justification in their own lives, a power which brings life because it is His own life imparted to them. Thus is the sovereignty of the favour of GOD established instead of the sovereignty of sin and death. The relation to the one Man, in this case, is a relation of imparted life, as in the former case it is a relation of entailed death. In each case the entail is realised for each person by his own act: in the first case, by an act of sin; in the second case, by an act of faith. The Second Adam broke the entail by the fact that He did not sin (Romans 5:18); and that condition He imparts by communication of His own life. See Additional Note, p. 210.

The analysis of the structure is this: the anacoluthon in Romans 5:12 is due to the interruption of the intended statement of the universality of χάρις and ζωή, by the expansion of the thought of the sway of death. The completion of the original idea is then undertaken in Romans 5:15-17, but only by noting certain qualifications of the parallel which is to be drawn; then, Romans 5:18 f., the parallel is finally stated.

διὰ τοῦτο. The Christian state being as described in Romans 5:1-11, it follows that GOD’s act in the Gospel has a universal range.

δι' ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἡ ἁμαρτία κ.τ.λ. Adam’s sin, by the mere fact, brought sin into the world of created humanity; sin was no longer a possibility but a fact.

καὶ διὰ τῆς ἁμ. ὁ θάνατος, the death we know: death as we know it came into man’s experience by the act of Adam. The question is not raised, still less answered, whether without sin man’s nature would have been liable to death; S. Paul is dealing with our experience of death and its natural associations, alike for Jew and Gentile, as the destruction of life and separation from GOD. It was sin which gave death this character, and this character, reinforced by the sins of men, led to the tyranny of death over the human spirit. It appears therefore that S. Paul is not distinguishing between physical and moral death, but regarding death as a fact in its full significance in relation to the whole nature of man. See p. 218.

καὶ οὕτως. καὶ is the simple conj. and the clause is part of the ὥσπερ sentence, not the apodosis; that would require οὕτως καὶ.

ὁ θάνατος διῆλθεν. The primary stress is on the universality of death, initiated by one sin, reinforced by sin in every man. The universality of sin has already been argued. The order throws stress on εἰς π. . The aorists are ‘constative,’ they “represent a whole action simply as having occurred without distinguishing any steps in its progress”; Moulton, p. 109.

ἐφ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον. These words must be taken strictly; the range of death included all men because all sinned. The death, which received its character from Adam’s sin, retained its character because each and every man in turn sinned. All principles of interpretation require us to take sin here in the same sense as in ch. Romans 1:18 f. There it is clear that sin involves conscious neglect of knowledge of GOD and His Will, in however elementary a degree. It is an individual act against light. To suppose that ἐν Ἀδάμ is to be supplied, is to suppose that the most critical point of the argument is unexpressed. ἐφ ᾧ = ‘on the ground that’; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:4; Blass, p. 137.

Verse 13

13. ἄχρι γὰρ νόμου = just so far as there was law there was sin. It has been shown (Romans 2:14-15) that there was law, in a certain and true sense, before the law given to Moses; action against this law was sin, and the fact that it was so is here confirmed by the consideration that the penalty of sin, death, was obviously present in the world before the law of Moses was given. γὰρ then introduces a fresh piece of evidence of the universality of sin—for death, as understood by sinners, was there, therefore sin, sin in proportion to knowledge. So I take ἄχρι ν. = up to the degree of law, just to the extent to which law was present. So ἁμαρτία, anarthrous—men’s acts had the character of sin. See Additional Note, p. 210.

ἁμαρτία δὲ, sc. but that law was present, and therefore men’s acts were sins, is shown by the reign of death; the law in question is shown to be the law described in Romans 2:14 f., because the reign of death, the punishment of sin, extended over men who did not sin as Adam did against a positive external command. The two Romans 5:13-14 together justify the statement πάντες ἥμαρτον. See Add. Note, p. 213.


B. ON Romans 5:13

The usual interpretation takes ἄχρι νόμου = till the Mosaic law was given, and understands S. Paul to deny that sin could be imputed in the full sense to those who were ignorant of that law: consequently πάντες ἥμαρτον is regarded as = all men sinned in Adam. It cannot be denied that this interpretation is highly strained; but the extreme complexity of the passage might be taken to excuse that, if two further objections did not arise: [1] By supplying ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ with π. . we assume the omission by the writer of words essential to the understanding of the passage; [2] by taking ἄχρι νόμου = until the Mosaic law was given, and making the consequent assumption that sin was not imputed to Gentiles till they were aware of the Mosaic law (for the interpretation must extend so far), we make S. Paul say here that sin could not be imputed to the Gentiles, including Adam and the Patriarchs up to Abraham, because they had no law. But this is in direct contradiction with one main argument of the preceding chapters, and of course with the whole teaching as to the sinful state of Gentiles. I should further urge that for this meaning here the article would be indispensable before νόμου, as there is a specific reference to the Mosaic law as and when given. The interpretation given in the notes involves the difficulty (which I do not minimise) of translating ἄχρι νόμου = so far as there was law. ἄχρι is used frequently of time and place (Acts 20:4, alibi): the gen. expresses generally the point of time or space reached; but sometimes expresses also the interval before that point is reached; cf. ἄχρι καιροῦ, for a season (Luke 4:13; Acts 13:11); ἄχρι ταύτης τῆς ἡμέρας w. perfect (Acts 23:1), ἄχρι τούτου τοῦ λόγου w. imperfect (Acts 22:22). The extension of meaning to = just in the degree that law, so far as there was law and no further, seems justifiable. If this meaning can be taken, then ἀλλὰ ἐβασίλευσεν κ.τ.λ. goes closely with ἁμ. οὐκ ἐλλογᾶται, as an indication that the punishment of sin being in evidence sin itself must have been there. καὶ ἐπὶ κ.τ.λ. brings out the fact that the sin was not on all fours with that of Adam, so making explicit the restriction hinted in ἄχρι νόμου, the unlikeness consisting in the fact that Adam sinned against a positive revealed command, men in general sinned against the internal law of a conscience, enlightened, if only partially. This interpretation is in strict agreement with the view put forward in the early chapters, and does not make S. Paul say anything but what he says explicitly.

Verse 14

14. ἐβασίλευσεν, the ‘constative aorist’; Moulton, p. 109.

ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ μἐχρι ΄ωυσέως, in the interval between Adam, who sinned against positive law, and Moses who delivered positive law. In the case of Adam and of those who lived under the Mosaic law there could be no doubt that πάντες ἥμαρτον.

ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμ. It is noticeable that as sinners men are here distinguished from Adam: their sin was of a different kind; but still it was sin, action against light, though the light came in a different way, that is, through the inner experience of the knowledge of GOD Romans 1:18 f.

ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμ. τ. π. . The dominant fact in the sin of Adam was that he acted in spite of a positive command: other men acted in spite of the inner light.

ὅς ἐστιν τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος. τοῦ μέλλοντος = ‘of Him who was to come.’ Adam is typical of Christ in his natural relation to men. The words introduce the parallel now to be stated: tr. ‘and he is a type,’ etc.; and so there is a parallel in the relations, but a parallel with qualifications. So ἀλλά, not γάρ, follows.

Verse 15

15. τὸ χάρισμα here is the gift of justification offered in Christ; in range this has as large an effect as the fall; but in quality it is far greater, as it leads to life, the other to death. This conclusion is not fully stated till Romans 5:17.

εἰ γάρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς κ.τ.λ., the fall of one man led to the death of all (note, not to the sin). οἱ πολλοὶ. denominate πάντες in contrast to ὁ εἶς; cf. Lft, ad loc[136] There are two steps omitted here; Adam’s fall lead to his death, death thus introduced spread because all sinned. So, ultimately, it was owing to one man’s sin that the many died. Similarly, in the parallel clause, the individual condition of faith and the actual result (ζωὴ) are omitted.

ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ, the favour of GOD. ἡ δωρεὰ, His generous giving, emphasises χάρις; and then this χάρις is further described as the favour of the Ascended Lord, the one Man (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Corinthians 8:9), to bring out the parallel. The words express the attitude of GOD to sinning man—His love in all its fulness; not the effect of that love.

ἐπερίσσευσεν, ‘superabounded’—in its very nature as an act of infinite love, and, as will be shown presently, in its effects. But here the nature of the act alone is in question. If its effects were in question, the aorist would scarcely stand.

εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς, with ἐπερίσσευσεν, abounded in fact, as shown in its effects; what those effects were is then expressed, generally in δώρημα, δικαίωμα specifically (17 f.) by ἐν ζωῇ βας., and both expressions united in [18] δικαίωσιν ζωῆς.

Verse 16

16. καὶ οὐχτὸ δώρημα. Still more condensed. δώρημα is the concrete effect or result of χάρις and δωρεά.

δι' ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήσαντος, through one man and his sin (death came into the world); the gift came after many sins.

The v. l. ἁμαρτήματος is a true gloss: the absence of the article makes the phrase = through one man’s sin: the participial form of the phrase emphasises the responsibility of the act.

τὸ μὲν γὰρ κ.τ.λ. This is explained and must be interpreted by the second γὰρ clause, Romans 5:17.

κρίμα. GOD’s decision upon the act of sin led to the imposition of a penalty. ἐξ ἑνὸς. Neuter.

κατάκριμα. See Deissmann, B. S. II. p. 92. A very rare word. Papyri seem to show that it = a burden imposed upon an estate in consequence of a legal judgment: so a judicial penalty of any kind: ‘poena condemnationem sequens.’

χάρισμα. The gift which GOD gives, after many sins, leads to acquittal.

δικαίωμα Here = acquittal, )[137] κατάκριμα: justification is a sentence of acquittal, though on condition of faith.

Verse 17

17. τῷ παραπτώματι. παραπτ. is used throughout of the actual fall, whether of Adam, or as repeated in his descendants, Romans 5:20.

ἐβασίλευσεν, ‘ingressive,’ gained its sovereignty: τῷπαραπτ., the instrument; διὰ τοῦ, the agent. The one was the agent, his fall the instrument by which death entered and established its sovereignty: repeats 12a.

πολλῷ μᾶλλον. The idea seems to be that the state of those who receive GOD’s gift is far more than a mere deliverance from death; it is a new life and actual sovereignty.

οἱλαμβάνοντες. Here is expressed the condition for realising GOD’s gift, its reception by faith, parallel to the (unexpressed) condition of the extended sovereignty of death, the sin of each man.

τῆς δωρεᾶς τῆς δικαιοσύνης = righteousness as offered in Christ. Here again the excess of GOD’s love finds expression: it is not merely justification (δικαιοῦν, δικαἰωσις), acquittal, which is given; but positive righteousness under the operation of the new life of Christ in men.

ἐν ζωῇ. The antithesis of 1 Corinthians 15:22.

βασιλεύσουσιν. An exact antithesis would be ἡ ζωὴ βασιλεύσει; but this abstract expression would not represent the vivid thought of the condition of those who receive, etc., as sharing not only the life but the sovereignty of the Lord; cf. Ephesians 2:5-6. The future is used because of the hypothesis implied in οἱ λαμβάνοντες; it includes not only the future glorified state of the redeemed but their present share in the Lord’s already established sovereignty.

διὰ τοῦ ἑνὸς Ἰ. Χρ. It is not necessary again to emphasise the Human Nature by repeating ἀνθρώπου; it is understood. N. that . Χρ. means Jesus as Ascended Christ. He is the Agent through whom GOD’s gift comes to men.

Verse 18

18. ἄρα οὖν. The parallel is now summed up without the qualifications, in the simplest form.

ὡς δι' ἑνὸς κ.τ.λ. The best way of translating seems to be to turn εἰς πάντας ἀνθρ. into a statement—all men were affected. The prepositional form seems almost to be chosen in order to avoid a definite statement as to the nature of the nexus between the one man and all men.

εἰς κατάκριμα, sc. θανάτου' |[138] εἰς δικ. ζωῆς.

δι' ἑνὸς δικαιώματος. Possibly as above, ‘through one man’s acquittal,’ as an accomplished fact; but the antithesis to παράπτωμα, and the parallel with τῆς ὑπακοῆς (Romans 5:19), suggest the rendering ‘righteous act’ or ‘enacted righteousness.’ We have to choose between an inexact antithesis here, or a difference in the meaning of δικαίωμα here and in Romans 5:16.

εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς, for an acquittal, carrying with it not the mere negative Setting aside of sin, but the positive gift of life.

ζωῆς. The gen. of definition—an acquittal involving life.

Verse 19

19. ὥσπερ γὰρ κ.τ.λ. The antithesis is repeated in another form, for clearness of thought.

παρακοή. This word is substituted for παράπτωμα as definitely involving the personal action.

κατεστάθησαν. Cf. James 4:4. = were brought into the condition of sinners—i.e. under the doom of death; the condition then realised by their own sins.

δίκαιοι καταστ., shall be brought into the condition of righteous or justified men—again the condition to be realised by their own faith; marked by the future tense.

Verse 20

20. νόμος δὲ κ.τ.λ. The effect of law, whether the inner law or the law of Moses, was to multiply the fall, i.e. to occasion in each the fall which had taken place in Adam (cf. ch. 7), so that each became a sinner by his own act in rejecting knowledge; cf. ‘every man is the Adam of his own soul.’

παρεισῆλθεν. The force of the compound is that law came in as an additional element in man’s experience, not as it were on the direct line of natural development but as an extra imported element, both the inner light and the outer law being especial gifts of GOD.

ἵνα πλεονάσῃ. Cf. Romans 3:19, Romans 7:7 ff., esp. 13, 14. We cannot avoid taking ἵνα as final. The knowledge of GOD’s will was necessary for man’s moral development; it was necessary to make what was sin to be realised as sin (Romans 3:20).

οὗ δὲ κ.τ.λ. The resources of GOD’s favour were abundantly equal to this multiplied demand upon it.

ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν, ‘became still more abundant.’

Verse 21

21. ἵνα ὥσπερ κ.τ.λ. Here the reign of death is shown to be as a matter of fact the reign of sin in the atmosphere of death; a summary again of Romans 1:18 f.

ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ. The |[139] εἰς ζωὴν shows that ἐν here is not instrumental, but describes the sphere or atmosphere in which sin reigned.

ἡ χάρις κ.τ.λ., the grace or favour of GOD might gain its sovereignty under the condition of righteousness leading to eternal life by the action and agency of the Ascended Man Jesus Christ, now our Lord. χάρις, as throughout, describes not the state of man but the attitude of GOD towards man.

διὰ δικαιοσύνης = in or under a condition or state of righteousness: cf. 17 b and for διὰ, Romans 2:27 n. The elaborate phrasing is due to the difficulty of getting an exact antithesis. The exact verbal antithesis would be ἡ δικαιοσύνη ( )[140] ἡ ἁμαρτία) β. ἐν ζωῇ ()[141] ἐν τῷ θαν.); but the true power of sovereignty is not man’s righteousness but GOD’s grace; so ἡ χάρις is put as the subject; then δικαιοσύνη expresses the state of man under the sovereignty of χάρις, and is therefore introduced by διὰ; and for ἐν ζωῇ (cf. 17 b) the description of the new atmosphere in which man is or the new power by which man lives (already implied in ἡ χάρις) is substituted εἰς ζ. αἰ. as the end to which all tends; and the whole argument is summed up in the phrase διὰ Ἰ. Χρ. τ. Κ. ., which comes almost as a refrain (cf. Romans 7:17, Romans 8:23).

It is essential throughout the passage to bear in mind the argument of Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:31, and in particular the position there made plain that the sinful state is made actual in each man by his own act, just as the state of righteousness to be made actual in each man requires the personal act of faith.

Then in ch. 7. S. Paul passes from this description of GOD’s favour or grace in its range, effectiveness and purpose to consider man’s duty as the object of this grace.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Romans 5:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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