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Bible Commentaries
Romans 5

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-21

God’s Salvation and the Results of its Acceptance

St. Paul completes his exposition of acceptance by faith by pointing to its blessed effects (Romans 5:1-11). In the following vv. he compares sin and acceptance, as to which he has shown that all men have sinned, while acceptance is open to all, and declares the cause of this universality. Sin is universal, because all men derive their being from Adam. But, over against Adam, Christ has entered into our race as its new head; and from Him, all who become His derive righteousness and life, which overpower sin and death (Romans 5:12-21).

1-11. Acceptance brings about triumphant hope of glory, which is guaranteed by our assurance of the love of God.

Paraphrase. ’(1) Blessed effects follow upon acceptance, and we should realise them. Such are reconciliation to God, (2) and admission to His gracious favour, with triumphant expectation of future glory. (3) Beyond this, we should triumph even in tribulations, because their bracing effect upon the character (4) strengthens our expectation of glory, (5) and this expectation is confirmed by a sense of God’s love implanted by the Holy Ghost. (6) We are right in trusting utterly to such love as God revealed by the death of Christ. (7) Its like has never been known among men, for we were not good, (8) but sinful, when Christ died for us. (9) In view of this, we may trust Him to save us to the end. (10) For if God sacrificed His Son for His enemies, He will surely save His friends. (11) Reconciled, therefore, to God, we triumph continually in His abiding love.’

1. Therefore] cp. Romans 4:24. Justified] i.e. accepted. We have] RV ’let us have.’

2. We have access] RV ’we have had our access,’ as into a king’s palace: cp. Galatians 5:4. Rejoice] RV ’let us rejoice.’ Glory] i.e. the future and everlasting presence of God: see on Romans 3:23.

3. We glory, etc.] RV ’let us also rejoice in our tribulations’: cp. Acts 14:22. Worketh] i.e. brings about. Patience] i.e. bearing up under great trials without losing heart.

4. Experience] RV ’probation,’ i.e. a test: here the character of one who has come through the test of suffering strong and ready for all things.

5. Maketh not ashamed] RV ’putteth not to shame,’ i.e. by proving mistaken. Love of God] i.e. to us. Is given] RV ’was given,’ i.e. at a definite time: cp. Acts 10:44; Acts 19:2. St. Paul takes it for granted that all Christians have had a definite gift of the Holy Spirit, which followed their acceptance of Christ (cp. Galatians 3:2), one effect of which was to fill their hearts with a sense of God’s love to them: cp. Romans 8:15.

6. Without strength] RV ’weak,’ i.e.morally. In due time] i.e. when the need was greatest.

7. Righteous] i.e. just, contrasted with the more lovable ’good man.’

8. Commendeth] i.e. shows its excellence: cp. Romans 3:5.

9. Wrath] RV ’the wrath of God’: see on Romans 1:18.

10. Enemies] i.e. opposing God’s truth and will: cp. Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21. Reconciled] cp. 2 Corinthians 5:18. Saved by his life] RM ’in his life,’ i.e. saved from the power of sin now, and from death and God’s wrath hereafter, through our union with the life of the risen Christ: cp. Romans 6:8.; Romans 8:10.

11. Joy] RV ’rejoice,’ referring to Romans 5:2. In God] i.e. in His love and fatherhood. Now] i.e. under the gospel. Atonement] i.e. at-one-ment; RV ’reconciliation.’

12-14. Thus Christ is the head and representative of humanity, and we derive acceptance and life from Christ, as the OT. shows that we derive sin and death from Adam.

Paraphrase. ’(12) Thus there are two heads, from whom the human race derives inheritance. From Adam all inherited a sinful tendency, which became active, so that all died. (13) When there is no law to be broken, there can be no guilt, yet even before the Law came, (14) death was universal, and those who had not broken any express command nevertheless died. Therefore sin and death are derived from Adam; and in this respect Christ, from whom, by union with Him, we derive righteousness and life, is Adam’s counterpart.’

12. Wherefore] refers to Romans 5:9-11. As.. by sin] sentence broken off; would continue, ’so by one man righteousness and life entered.’

By one man] cp. 1 Corinthians 15:21.

45. Death] i.e. physical. Upon] RV ’unto.’ For that] i.e. because. Have sinned] RV ’sinned.’

13. Was in the world] as proved by human history. Not imputed] i.e. as guilty of wilful transgression of law: cp. 4.

14. After the similitude] RV ’likeness,’ i.e. by consciously breaking law.

15-21. But our inheritance from Christ more than repairs the ruin of the Fall.

Paraphrase. ’(15) But the inheritances from Adam and from Christ differ in degree and in kind. For if Adam’s Fall was so powerful for harm, God’s favour, shown through Christ, is much more powerful for good. (16) Again, sin is so terrible, that one sin led to man’s condemnation. But God’s favour is still mightier, for it offers pardon to all sins. (17) So mighty is it that, while we know that Adam’s sin brought death, it is much more easy to conceive that those who welcome God’s bounty will attain to life and glory through Christ. (18) To sum up; one sin brought condemnation to all, but, over against this, one verdict of acquittal has brought acceptance and life within the reach of all. (19) For the obedience of the second head of humanity reverses the effect of the disobedience of the first. (20) The Law has a subordinate place; it was meant to convert the unconscious sin of the world into definite transgression, that men might learn how far they are from doing God’s will. But God’s favour was so stupendously manifested as to overwhelm even this multiplied sin, (21) that the power of His gracious favour might prevail over that of sin, and bring man, through the work of Christ, to acceptance and to eternal life.’

15. Offence] RV ’trespass.’ The Gk. word means a ’fall.’ Free gift] i.e. of acceptance.

One] RV ’the one,’ i.e. Adam. Many] RV ’the many,’ i.e. mankind. Be dead] RV ’died,’ i.e. became liable to death through sin. Grace] see on Romans 1:5. By grace, etc.] RV ’by the grace of the one man.’ Abounded] i.e. in power for good.

16. As it was by one] RV ’as through one.’ To condemnation] i.e. leading to condemnation. Offences] RV ’trespasses.’ Unto justification] i.e. leading to a sentence of acquittal.

17. By one] RV ’through the one.’

Abundance] refers to ’abounded,’ Romans 5:15.

Righteousness] i.e. acceptance. Reign] i.e. enjoy glory, and liberty from sin and death.

Life] i.e. heavenly life.

18. By the offence of one] RV ’through one trespass.’ To condemnation] i.e. leading to condemnation.

Righteousness of one] better, ’one sentence of acquittal,’ passed by God in consequence of Christ’s obedience: cp. Romans 5:19. Unto justification of life] i.e. leading to acceptance which results in life.

19. One] RV ’the one.’

Many] RV ’the many.’ Were made sinners] in the sense of Romans 5:12-14. Shall many be made] i.e. as generation after generation arises.

20. Entered] RV ’came in beside’: cp. Galatians 3:19. Offence] RV ’trespass,’ i.e. Adam’s. Abound] i.e. multiply: cp. Romans 3:20; Romans 7:13.

Much more abound] overpowering the sin.

21. Sin, etc.] RV ’sin reigned in death,’ i.e. sin had power which was death-bringing: cp. Isaiah 32:1. Unto.. life] i.e. resulting in.. life.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/romans-5.html. 1909.
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