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Romans 5

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Verse 1

Romans 5:1

Therefore -- οὖν oun Since we are thus justified, or as a consequence of being justified, we have peace.

“Therefore” introduces the practical conclusion to be drawn from the presentation of grace in 3:21-4:25.

Note Paul’s use of "grace and peace" (Romans 1:5-6, and all his epistle introductions) for this is who he is! Faith, grace, peace, hope, is an outflow of all that Paul has gone through! - SW

justified by faith -- Romans 3:24; Romans 4:5.

"Since we have been justified through faith” sums up the main point of that passage and states the heart of grace. The verb is aorist (past) tense, indicating that justification is an event that has already occurred in the experience of Paul’s Christian readers.

we -- That is, all who are justified. The apostle is evidently speaking of true Christians.

peace -- Peace here is not a subjective feeling of peace. Rather, this peace is the state of being at peace instead of at war. The hostility between God and the believer has ceased. The believer has been reconciled to God. - NNIBC

The only way is peace is faith, grace, hope! Paul has been through all that. - SW

peace with God -- religion is often represented as peace with God; see Acts 10:36; Romans 8:6; Romans 10:15; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; see also Isaiah 32:17.

1) The sinner is represented as the enemy of God, Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:16; James 4:4; John 15:18, John 15:24; John 17:14; Romans 1:30. Isaiah 59:2

(2) The Gospel is God’s plan for reconciliation. He is ready to forgive sin.

through our Lord Jesus Christ -- By means of the atonement of the Lord Jesus. It is his mediation that has procured it.

- - - - - - - - -

[Follow the links from #1 to see Paul’s pictures of salvation, or what the cross has done for us.

[ # 1 Paul’s picture from the Law Courts of Rome

Rom. 5.1 cf. Jesus’ death, Romans 4:25 we are not treated as criminals, but as if we had done nothing wrong. Acts 13:34 Illustration from Abe Lincoln; Illustration Prodigal son, Luke 15.

Next: picture of Reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 ]

What We Have Thru Christ

1. Peace -- Romans 1:7; Romans 5:1

2. Grace -- use this grace, Romans 1:7; Romans 5:2

3. Hope -- Romans 5:2 Romans 5:4

4. Joy -- Romans 5:2 glory (rejoice) in tribulation, Romans 5:3

5. Love -- Romans 5:5

Verse 2

Romans 5:2

we have -- Lit. "we have had", The time-reference is to a past reception resulting in present possession. - CBSC

Paul continues by speaking of Jesus as the one through we have this access. The work of Jesus is always the ground or basis which makes salvation possible.

we have access -- [John 14:6] It means, “by whom we have the privilege of obtaining the favor of God which we enjoy when we are justified.”

The word rendered “access” occurs but in two other places in the New Testament, Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12. By Jesus Christ the way is opened for us to obtain the favor of God.

The word rendered “access” (GK 4643) can mean either “approach” or “introduction”; the latter meaning seems the more appropriate here. We must think of the Father in his exaltation and glory as the one being approached, with the Lord Jesus introducing us as those who belong to him and so to the Father (see also Ephesians 2:17-18; Ephesians 3:12 ff.). - EBNT

by faith -- By means of faith, Romans 1:17. Our trusting commitment [faith] is the means by which we personally receive grace from God.

into this grace -- This acceptance, Ephesians 1:6. Into this favor of reconciliation with God.

This term grace (charis) meant God’s undeserved, no-strings-attached, unmerited love (cf. Ephesians 2:4-9). It is clearly seen in Christ’s death on behalf of sinful mankind (cf. Romans 5:8). - Utley

in which we stand -- We stand in this grace since we are justified. Literally “we stand and continue to stand.”

Indicates not only a past event, but also a present reality made possible by the work of Christ on the cross. - FSB

Note Paul’s use of "grace and peace" (Romans 1:5-6, and in all his epistle introductions) for this is who he is! Faith, grace, peace, hope, is an outflow of all that Paul has gone through! - SW

and rejoice -- "glory," "boast," "triumph"--"rejoice" is not strong enough. - JFB

in hope of the glory of God -- The glory that God will bestow on us.

Unlike the Eng. word “hope,” the NT word contains no uncertainty; it speaks of something that is certain, but not yet realized. - MSB

The word “glory” usually means splendor, magnificence, honor; and the apostle here refers to that honor and dignity which will be conferred on the redeemed when they are raised up to the full honors of redemption; - BN

Verse 3

Romans 5:3

And not only so -- We not only rejoice in times of prosperity, and of health. Paul proceeds to show that this plan is not less adapted to produce support in trials.

but we glory -- - The word used here is the same that is in Romans 5:2, translated, “we rejoice” καυχώμεθα kauchōmetha. It should have been so rendered here. The meaning is, that we rejoice not only in hope; not only in the direct results of justification, in the immediate effect which religion itself produces; but we carry our joy and triumph even into the midst of trials.

In accordance with this, our Saviour directed his followers to rejoice in persecutions, Matthew 5:11-12. Compare James 1:2, James 1:12.

tribulations -- [afflictions] -- Refers to suffering on account of persecution (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:4). Some believers may have worried that such afflictions were a sign of God’s wrath; however, Paul challenges them to view suffering as a way to build character. - FSB

A word used for pressure, like that of a press squeezing the fluid from olives or grapes. Here they are not the normal pressures of living (cf. Romans 8:35), but the inevitable troubles that come to followers of Christ because of their relationship with Him (Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:20; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:19). - MSB

produces -- [works, brings] -- Produces the effect of;

κατεργάζομαι, katergazomai (kat-er-gad’-zom-ahee) From G2596 and G2038; to work fully, that is, accomplish; by implication to finish, fashion: - cause, do (deed), perform, work (out). - Strongs

Patience [steadfastness, perseverance] -- this word refers to endurance, the ability to remain under tremendous weight and pressure without succumbing ( Romans 15:5; Colossians 1:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; Revelation 14:12). - MSB

“A calm temper, which suffers evils without murmuring or discontent” (Webster).

Verse 4

Romans 5:4

character [proven character, experience] -- The quality of being tested and approved.

Experience -- approval; NIV "character" G1382 δοκιμή dokimē Thayer Definition: 1) proving, trial; 2) approved, tried character.

This is δοκιμή (dokimç), which belongs to a word group that refers to the process of testing or trying or proving something, and also to the state of having been tested or proved and thus of being approved.

hope -- Having withstood afflictions with strength from God has proved God’s faithfulness and will surely hope the more confidently. Faith that has been "proved" has the sense of assurance of the promises of God.

Verse 5

Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint [make ashamed] -- This hope will not deceive.

But the apostle says that the Christian hope is such that it will be fulfilled; it will not disappoint; what we hope for we shall certainly obtain; see Philippians 1:20. The expression used here is probably taken from Psalms 22:4-5;

Hope: Are you going to heaven? Hope does not make us say, "well, maybe, I don’t know." Once understood "justification by faith", hope is assurance. - SW

love of God -- God’s love for us; NASB "God’s love"; "Jesus loves me" Most understand this as God’s love for us.

The genitive phrase, "the love of God" grammatically can refer to (1) our love for God or (2) God’s love for us (cf. John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14). Number two is the only contextual option. - Utley

Barnes takes this as "Love toward God. There is produced an abundant, an overflowing love to God."

has been poured into our hearts -- This word [ἐκκέχυται ekkechutai] is properly applied to water, or to any other liquid that is poured out, or diffused. It is used also to denote imparting, or communicating freely or abundantly, and is thus expressive of the influence of the Holy Spirit poured down, or abundantly imparted to people; Acts 10:45. - BN

...literally, "God’s love has been and continues to be poured out." This verb was often used of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Acts 2:33; Acts 10:45 and Titus 3:6), which may reflect Joel 2:28-29 (Isaiah 32:15). - Utley

into our hearts -- This refers to the soul or spirit, as distinct from the body. Paul is talking about how God’s love becomes present within our inner life and in a sense present to our consciousness.

The main question now is, how does the Holy Spirit pour God’s love into our hearts? We must pay close attention to the wording.

First, as the divine author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit does pour out the knowledge of God’s love into our hearts through the biblical testimony to the atoning sacrifice of Christ, which is the greatest possible demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16; John 15:13; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8-10). The fact that God loves us is objectively revealed in the very events of redemption...

Second, God’s love is poured out into our hearts in the form of the blessings we receive from Him.

by [through] the Holy Spirit -- How? "by the hearing of faith" Galatians 3:2

The Holy Spirit’s work is to assure us of God’s love for us.

The reality of God’s love gives the assurance, even the guarantee, of His promises and of a glorious hope.

This ministry of the Holy Spirit is related to His presence in believers as the seal of God (Ephesians 4:30) and as the earnest or down payment of their inheritance in glory (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14). Later Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit Himself has been poured out in believers (Titus 3:6). Each believer has the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9) in the sense that He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13). - Barnes

which has been given to us -- Most translations understand that it is the Holy Spirit himself that has been given to us. The Holy Spirit is thus represented as dwelling in the hearts of believers; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16.

The effect of the Holy Spirit within one fills their minds with peace, and love, and joy. Galatians 5:22.

Verse 6

Romans 5:6

Romans 5:6-11 one of the greatest passages to study with soneone lost. Yes, tell about Jesus and his death, but this passage is powerful! - SW

For when [while] -- Paul presents a new argument to show that our hope will not disappoint us.

we were still weak [without strength] -- The word used here ἀσθενῶν (asthenōn) is usually applied to those who are sick and feeble, deprived of strength by disease; Matthew 25:38; Luke 10:9; Acts 4:9; Acts 5:15. But it is also used in a moral sense, to denote inability or feebleness with regard to any undertaking or duty.

in due time -- at the set time; at the proper time; Ephesians 1:10; Galatians 4:4;

This could refer historically to

1. the Roman peace (and roads) allowing free travel

2. the universal Greek language allowing cross cultural communication

3. the demise of the Greek and Roman gods producing an expectant, spiritually hungry world (cf. Mark 1:15; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Titus 1:3)

4. the Jewish dispersion into all the major cities of the for providing a ready audience for the Gospel

Theologically the incarnation was a planned, divine event (cf. Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28; Ephesians 1:11).

Christ died -- On the cross.

for -- υπερ, on the behalf of.

Harris (“Prepositions,” 1196) explains that the word originally meant “over” or “above.” Thus the meaning “on behalf of” seems “to have arisen from the image of one person standing or bending over another in order to protect or shield him, or of a shield lifted over the head which suffers the blow instead of the person.” It is easy to see how it would also come to mean “in the place of.”

for the ungodly -- Sinners in general. Those in opposition to God and all for which he stands. Those who were totally undeserving of his loving forgiveness. Those who stood rightly due all his wrath.

Verse 7

Romans 5:7

For scarcely -- The design of this verse is to illustrate the great love of God compared to what a man may be willing to do.

scarcely -- rarely; It is an event which cannot be expected to occur often. There would scarcely be found an instance in which this would happen.

"It is an unusual occurrence (an event which is all that we can hope for from the highest human benevolence and the purest friendship) that one would would be willing to die for a good man.

righteous man -- A just man; a man distinguished simply for integrity of conduct, respected, but who is not a personal friend of one willing to die for him.

If "righteousness" is neuter (in the genitive they have the same form) it may be that Paul is saying it is difficult to find anyone who will die for a just cause. It seems better to take both righteous and good as masculine since the comparison is with Christ dying for people rather than a cause.

will one die -- Would one be willing to die, that is, in his place, or in his stead. A man would scarcely lay down his own life to save that of a righteous man.

yet perhaps -- Perhaps, implying that this was something that one might do.

good man -- Good in man’s sight. Not just any man of integrity, but one who is personally known to be good, a benefactor, and is a close friend.

The apostle may be intending to refer to a case of tender friendship, where one would be willing to expose life for a kind, tender, faithful friend.

δικαίουἀγαθοῦ. [δικαίου is without the article, while ἀγαθοῦ has the article.] 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. - CBSC GK

dare -- venture. Have the courage.

Our Saviour says that it is the highest expression of love among people. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;” John 15:13.

Verse 8

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth -- God has exhibited or showed his love in this unusual and remarkable manner.

commendeth [demonstrates, shows] -- To teach by showing, to prove.

his love -- His kind feeling; his beneficence; his willingness to submit to sacrifice to do good to others.

yet sinners [still sinners] -- Still sinners.

while we were still sinners -- And of course his enemies. In this, his love surpasses all that has ever been manifested among people.

Christ died for us -- In our stead; to save us from death. He took our place; and by dying himself on the cross, saved us from dying eternally in hell.

for us -- ὑπὲρ on the behalf of.

Verse 9

Romans 5:9

Much more then [Since, therefore; ] --

justified -- being set right. Pardoned; accepted as his friends.

by his blood -- By his death; Note, Romans 3:25. The fact that we are purchased by his blood, renders us sacred in the eye of God; and bestows a value on us proportionate to the worth of the price of our redemption;

wrath -- retribution, punishment. From hell; from the punishment due to sin; Note, Romans 2:8.

Verse 10

Romans 5:10

For if -- The idea in this verse is simply a repetition and enlargement of that in Romans 5:9.

when we were enemies -- - The work was undertaken while we were enemies. From being enemies we were changed to friends by that action.

we were reconciled -- (Note, Matthew 5:24.) We are brought to a state of friendship and reunion. We became his friends, laid aside our opposition.

Jesus Christ’s death reconciled us to God (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21-22). The Scriptures always speak of man as reconciled to God. They never speak of God as reconciled to man.

If you are not reconciled with God you are still in your sin. Romans 4:5; Isaiah 59:2 To be reconciled is to have one’s sins forgiven. - SW

Romans 5:6-10 Before reconciliation this is us.

1) still weak - v.6

2) ungodly - v.6

3) sinners - v.8

4) enemies - v.10

If this doesn’t move you to want to be reconciled to God, what will? When Paul has gone through all he has, this is powerful!

How can we rejoice (Romans 5:11) Paul? In case you missed it - Romans 5:6-11 !!! - SW

through the death of his Son --

much more -- It is much more to be expected; there are still stronger and more striking considerations to show it.

be saved by his life -- By his resurrection; by his victory over Satan and death. Jesus himself said; John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

“Through his life” refers to Christ’s risen and glorified life as he exists at the right hand of the Father in his ongoing intercessory ministry (Mounce, 138). cf. Romans 4:25; Romans 8:34.

Verse 11

Romans 5:11

And not only so -- The apostle states another effect of justification.

Not only is this so [NIV] --This” refers to “shall be saved” in Romans 5:9-10, namely, our future salvation. Paul is reminding us that our salvation is not just future; it has already begun.

we also rejoice in God -- In Romans 5:2, he had said that we rejoice in tribulations, and in hope of the glory of God. But he here adds that we rejoice in God himself; in his existence; his attributes; his justice, holiness, mercy, truth, love.

through our Lord Jesus Christ -- By the mediation of our Lord Jesus, who has revealed the true character of God, and by whom we have been reconciled to him.

Paul has exalted Jesus Christ throughout this passage as the one who has made grace and assurance possible.

now received the reconciliation -- See note on Romans 5:10 re "reconciliation."

[KJV] atonement - Margin, or reconciliation. This is the only instance in which the KJV translators have used the word “atonement” in the New Testament. The word frequently occurs in the Old, Exodus 29:33, Exodus 29:36-37; Exodus 30:10, Exodus 30:15-16, etc.

Verse 12

Romans 5:12

5:12–21 Paul sets out to show how one man’s death can provide salvation for many. To prove his point, he uses Adam to establish the principle that it is possible for one man’s actions to inexorably affect many other people. - MSB

The passage Romans 5:12-21 is the backbone for teaching "original sin" since Augustine, 5th century. Such doctrine maintains that vs 12-21 is limited to physical death only.

Paul’s main point is not about Adam, but Jesus, and what all is accomplished in his death. Paul’s subject is still "Justification by Faith."

Therefore -- Paul is concluding that justification is by by the system of grace-faith only and give one last great proof.

just as through one man -- The "one man" is of course Adam, who along with Eve was responsible of introducing sin into the world (Genesis 3:1-7).

Paul assumes that his readers know the tragic story of the fall of Adam and Eve.

sin entered the world, -- The word for “sin” is ἁμαρτία (hamartia), which in this case refers not to a specific act but to the principle of disobeying God’s command.

“The world” (as in John 3:16) is the world of mankind, the sphere of human beings; sin had already entered the world of angels through the sin of Satan (1 John 3:8). - CPNIV

The significance that Paul ascribes to this act, and the parallel that he draws between Adam’s sin and Christ’s act of obedience on the cross, makes clear that Paul views Adam and his sin in the Garden of Eden as historical fact. - NLTSB

and death through sin, -- Death = separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body, James 2:26 ; and spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God, Isaiah 59:2.

death Refers to the loss of immortality, which includes physical and spiritual death (Genesis 3:22-24)... his sin introduced mortality. This mortality, in Paul’s view, spread to the entire human race (see 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). According to Paul, death will be the final enemy defeated by God (1 Corinthians 15:26). - FSB

Death in these verses most likely denotes both physical death and spiritual death together (Paul often connects the two). - ESVSB

Death -- Does death in vs. 12 means "spiritual death"? (we know that physical death didn’t end with Moses, see Romans 5:14; [However Paul’s point is simply that there was a "law" then that existed before the "Law of Moses" for men were separated from God by their sins even before Moses’ Law. 1 John 3:8]

While Adam’s sin separated him from God (Genesis 3:8-10; Isaiah 59:2) the very day he sinned (Genesis 2:15-16) and resulted in spiritual separation (spiritual death), it was Adam’s exclusion from the Garden and his access to the "tree of life" that brought him and all mankind physical death (Genesis 3:22-23), a consequence of his sin.

death -- The parallel between this verse and Romans 5:18 suggests that “death” refers mainly to spiritual death, or “condemnation”—although physical death, at least in its painful side, may be included as well. - NIVZSB

Death here may be taken in its full latitude, for temporal, spiritual, and eternal death. - Poole [1 Corinthians 15:22]

By “death” in Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19 physical death is meant, but in Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21 eternal death is Paul’s idea and that lurks constantly behind physical death with Paul. - RWP

Death has 3 distinct manifestations: 1) spiritual death or separation from God (cf. Ephesians 1:1-2; Ephesians 4:18); 2) physical death (Hebrews 9:27); and 3) eternal death (also called the second death), which includes not only eternal separation from God, but eternal torment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). - MSB

death by sin -- In the case of Man. Scripture nowhere says that death in animals is due to human sin. - CBSC

and thus death [separation, wg] spread to all men, because all sinned -- Again asserting Paul’s message from chapters 1 & 2 that all have sinned (Romans 3:10-12; Romans 3:23), and thus all men have become separated from God. Isaiah 59:2.

The word translated men is the Greek word anthrōpos, which in the plural can mean either “people” of both sexes or “men,” depending on the context. It is translated “men” here (and in Romans 5:18) to show the connection with “man” (anthrōpos, singular), referring to Christ. - ESVSB

Little children and infants die physically not because they are sinners, but because we are without access to "the tree of life" from which mankind was cut off because of Adam’s sin. Genesis 3:22-24. [Ezekiel 18:20]

That infants and children are born "in sin" has been taught since the Reformation by Anabaptist writers and widely accepted within the Wesleyan tradition. However, there is no doctrine of "original sin" taught in 5:12-21. No child is actually conceived and born cursed with the "guilt" of Adam’s sin. The only consequence of Adam’s sin anyone suffers is that we will die physically, and will again have access to the "tree of life" in heaven. (Ezekiel 18:20-21; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:14).

[Those holding to "original sin" would argue that since infants die, this is proof they are "sinners." See Barnes response in Romans 5:14.]

for that all sinned -- the aorist. St Paul refers to the First Sin, to the guilt of the Representative of the race. A close parallel, in contrast, is 2 Corinthians 5:15, where lit. “since One died for all, therefore they all died;” i.e. ideally, in their Divine Representative. See too 1 Corinthians 15:21, where our death in Adam is spoken of just as our sin in Adam here. - CBSC

Here we should have expected the apostle to finish his sentence, in some such way as this: "Even so, by one man righteousness has entered into the world, and life by righteousness." But, instead of this, we have a digression, extending to five verses, to illustrate the important statement of Romans 5:12; and it is only at Romans 5:18 that the comparison is resumed and finished. - JFB

Note The dash "— " at the end of Romans 5:12 in the NIV is to show a break in Paul’s thought. In vs. 13-14 "He turns aside from his main argument to deal with a related matter." - NIVZSB

The Two Adams Contrasted [-Luscombe]

Romans 5:12-21

First AdamSecond Adam
Sin entered - 12Salvation - 15
Death to all men - 12Free gift - 15
Many died - 15Grace for many - 15
Condemnation - 16Justification - 16
Judgment - 18Life - 18
Disobedience - 19Obedience - 19
Law - 20Grace - 20
Sin - death - 21Righteousness - eternal life - 21
IS ADAM (MAN)IS CHRIST

Verse 13

Romans 5:13

Vs. 13 is Paul’s way of saying that there was some law therefore before the Law of Moses. (That law is what Paul speaks of in Romans 2:14; and Romans 2:12; a law of "instinct" (NASB), and/or man’s own conscience.

sin indeed was in the world before the law was given -- Paul’s point is that since sin is the transgression of law (1 John 3:4) , mankind must have been under some law before the "Law of Moses" since all were separated from God by their sins.

That “sin was in the world” before Moses’ Law was given is indisputable (Genesis 6:5, Genesis 6:11; Genesis 8:21; Genesis 18:20; Exodus 9:27). It is also indisputable that “sin is not taken into account when there is no law,” as Paul had already said in Romans 4:15.

Note the ESVSB here: "Since people still died, this shows that they were guilty— as a consequence of Adam’s sin but possibly also as a consequence of having transgressed the universal moral law in their consciences before the written Mosaic law was given."

but sin is not counted [imputed; reckoned] where there is no law -- Before the Law of Moses there was the law that Paul speaks on in chapter 1&2, Romans 4:15; What law mankind had was both oral law handed down by each generation, along with instinctive moral law, and occasional special revelation (e.g., Genesis 4:9; Genesis 6:13; Genesis 7:1; Genesis 9:1-7)

"There must therefore have been a law during that period, because sin was then imputed"; as is now to be shown. - JFB

Paul is assuming that his readers will remember what he has already said very plainly in Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 2:14-15, and will draw their own conclusions as to the invalidity of the argument. - CPNIV

law … law -- Both these words in the Greek. are without the article... we must interpret the first of the Mosaic Law, and the second of Law in some other sense; - CBSC

Verse 14

Romans 5:14

Adam -- Adam is both the name of the original man, Adam, and a Hebrew word that means “human.” - NLTSB

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses -- Evidence that there was some kind of law that mankind was under even before the law of Moses. {see note in Romans 5:13.)

even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgress of Adam -- Adam has explicit revelation from God and Adam transgressed it. Other mankind didn’t have the same kind of special revelation from God, but had their own instinctive (Romans 2:14 NASB) moral revelation, and they transgress that. (Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 2:14-15)

similitude of Adam’s transgression -- Adam’s transgress was against special revelation, a direct command. Others violated, transgressed, their own conscience of moral law and did evil. Genesis 6:5

Adam’s transgression -- Adam’s sin was a violation of a direct positive law. Other’s sins were a violation of moral law. Thus a law existed before Sinai; because men died (spiritually). [Adam’ death did bring physical and spiritual death to mankind, and both are rectified in Jesus Christ. Paul later also makes this plain, but here he dwells on the spiritual side of death.]

The "likeness of Adam’s transgression" upon us today, is that like Adam we today transgress God’s special revelation given to us in the N.T.

death reigned ... even over those who had not sinned -- Is this Paul’s way of affirming that death came, even to "innocent" children, infants, etc. who had not sinned like Adam did. All of Adam’s descendants died, whether they had "sinned" or not, like Adam did.

those who had not sinned -- Those holding to "original sin" would argue that since infants die, this is proof they are "sinners." Alford Barnes’ response is:

(1) The apostle makes no mention of infants. He does not in the remotest form allude to them by name, or give any intimation that he had reference to them.

(a) That this was an inference which the apostle does not draw, and for which he is not responsible. It is not affirmed by him.

who is a type [pattern; figure] of Him who was to come -- Paul is going to make a contrast between what Adam did and what Christ did. Adam introduced "spiritual death" (or separation); (and physical death as well) while Christ brought reconciliation between mankind and God. [See note below on Romans 5:16-17 to see that Christ’s action accomplished "much more".]

The word “pattern” is τύπος (typos) or “type.” Moo (I:346) explains that this word originally meant “the impression made by striking something,” and that it came to mean “a form, pattern, or example.”

In the NT it refers to those OT persons, institutions, or events that are seen to have a divinely intended function of prefiguring the the age inaugurated by Christ.

who is the figure -- - τύπος tupos. “Type.” This word occurs sixteen times in the New Testament, John 20:25 (twice); Acts 7:43-44; Acts 23:25; Romans 5:14; Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7; Hebrews 8:5; 1 Peter 5:3. It properly means,

(1) Any impression, note, or mark, which is made by percussion, or in any way, John 20:25, “the print (type) of the nails.”

(2) An effigy or image which is made or formed by any rule; a model, pattern. Acts 7:43, “ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Remphan, figures (types) which ye had made.” Acts 7:44, “that he should make it (the tabernacle) according to the fashion (type) which he had seen,” Hebrews 8:5.

(3) A brief argument, or summary, Acts 23:25.

(4) A rule of doctrine, or a law or form of doctrine, Romans 6:17.

(5) An example or model to be imitated; an example of what we ought to be, Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:3; or an example which is to be avoided, an example to warn us, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

who was to come -- The expression “he who was to come” is often used to denote the Messiah. As applied to him, it means that there was in some respects a similarity between the results of the conduct of Adam and the effects of the work of Christ. - BN

Note: The dash "— " at the end of this verse in the NIV is to show Paul’s break in thought (vs. 13-14): "He turns aside from his main argument to deal with a related matter." - NIVZSB.

- - - - -

Alternate Interpretation - "death" = physical death; [Jack Cottrell, CPNIV]

Nevertheless death reigned -- Paul seems to making a play on this word "death" and his audience now sees he turns to the meaning of physical death.

death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses . . This is clearly a reference to physical death, which is personified as a tyrant having everyone under its power in the period in question (and in all other times as well; see Romans 5:17). To depict death as a reigning monarch emphasizes its universal scope, its oppressive domination, and its inescapable certainty. - CPNIV

even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam -- This is the key point of the whole argument in vv. 13-14; this is what proves the fact that Adam’s sin brought death upon us all: death reigned, even over this group.

even over them [those] -- Over all the generations from Adam to Moses.

Evidence all those generation had a "law" even before the "Law of Moses."

even -- The word “even” (kai) is important, because it focuses the argument on a group that is more narrow than the general population of the earth (contra Godet, 212; Moo, I:345-346). This group is described as “those who did not sin by breaking a command.” [This would be innocent children and infants, etc.] - CPNIV

who is a type [figure; pattern; of Him who was to come -- The "one" who was to come of course refers to Christ, who was yet to come from Adam’s perspective.

Verse 15

Romans 5:15

But -- Introducing the contrast between what Adam and Christ did.

the free gift -- God’s gracious scheme for man’s escape of spiritual (and physical) death 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

The "free gift" of God’s grace is reconciliation with God.

is not like the offense [trespass; transgression, stumbling] -- Paul indicates a contrast and the "transgression" the "free gift" [grace] will be much greater in its impact.

(Our word “offence” comes from the Latin for the same, and is so used here by the KJV).

For if by one’s man’s offense [the] many died -- By Adam’s introduction of "transgression" into the world, many died; in fact all died (spiritually) for all sinned and there was no one to bring reconciliation until Christ.

The remedy for Adam’s offense is "much more" than for just his, but for all men’s transgressions.

[Here in Paul’s argument, infants are not under discussion, for they have not transgressed law, 1 John 3:4; therefore they have not become separated from God, Isaiah 59:2; there is no guilt of sin from their father, Ezekiel 18:20.]

many -- Greek, οἱ πολλοὶ “the many.” Evidently meaning all; the whole race; Jews and Gentiles. That it means all here is proved in Romans 5:18.

much more the grace of God -- The phrase "much more" is to indicate the greater accomplish of God’s grace than just to reconcile Adam, but is sufficient bring reconciliation to many.

... the overflowing “much more” of Christ’s cross means that the saved state into which it brings us is a state far better than what was lost in Adam. It includes “a better body than Adam ever had, a better life than he ever lived, a better world than he ever lived in, a world where Satan, and sin, and death can never come” (Lard, 178). - CPNIV

Paul shows later in Romans 5:21 that it not only reconciles man to God, but to also restore "eternal life" (Romans 5:21) where physical death had been a consequence of Adam’s sin.

the grace of God -- The favor or kindness of God. We have reason to expect that "the grace of God" is so wonderful and abundant we can’t fathom the excellence of it. Philippians 4:7; Romans 11:33;

and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many. -- The gift of God’s grace abounds to all through the one man Jesus Christ. John 14:6; Acts 4:12

God has love and grace for every man and desires to see everyone saved (2 Peter 3:9) but universal salvation is not taught in the Holy Scriptures, but salvation is conditional upon man committing himself to the the Lord’s way (Matthew 7:21; Romans 10:9; Hebrews 5:9)

The “grace of Christ” is the loving favour to man shewn by Him in His work. The “gift” which was given “in” (i.e. practically “through,” or “by,”) that grace is the eternal life of the justified. -CBSC

abounded to many -- Lit. did abound unto the many. The reference is to the historic fact of His Work. “The many"... as the persons here in question. These here, (as e.g. vv. 13–19 explain,) are the justified....“Abounded:” the idea is of Divine liberality in mercy, - CBSC

Verse 16

Romans 5:16

And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. -- Another contrast between Adam’s actions and Christ’s action. Adam’s was a matter of "transgression" bringing condemnation to himself, but Christ’s grace brings justification to many covering their transgressions.

“The one man’s sin” is better translated “the one who sinned” (NASB).

the gift -- God’s grace ("justification" "righteousness" Romans 5:17) . The benefits resulting from the work of Christ.

not like ... the one who sinned -- That is, Adam. --

The judgment -- One contrast here is between “one sin” and “many trespasses.” The judgment unto condemnation results from the single sin of one man; but the gift unto justification applies not only to this one sin but to many personal sins as well (and thus is quantitatively superior).

The sentence [judgment] -- 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, Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:17-19.

from one offense --

resulted in [unto] condemnation -- Producing condemnation, or involving in condemnation. The effect of the sin of Adam was to result in "death" for all mankind.

but the free gift -- The unmerited favor, demonstrated in the work of Christ.

is [came; following; followed; from; which came from] of many offenses -- Christ’s work was done in relation to many sins. Adam’s effect came from one offence; Christ’s work (of producing righteousness) has respect to to many crimes. Grace therefore abounds.

Verse 17

Romans 5:17

For if -- This verse contains the same idea as before presented, but in a varied form. It is condensing the whole subject, and presenting it in a single view.

by the one man’s offense -- Or, "by one offence". Margin. Reference is to Adam’s sin.

death reigned -- Spiritual and physical death started with Adam’s sin and continued to rule (reign) because all it. Romans 5:12; Spiritual death continued to reign because all have sinned, because of each one’s own sin.

death reigned. Adam’s sin brought universal death—exactly opposite the result he expected and Satan had promised: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). - MSB

through the one -- By the means of one man.

much more -- We have much more reason to expect ...

those who receive abundance of grace -- The abundant favor; the mercy that shall counterbalance and surpass the evils introduced by the sin of Adam. That favor shall be more than sufficient to counterbalance all those evils.

and the gift of righteousness -- .This stands opposed to the evils introduced by Adam. As the effect of his sin was to produce condemnation, so here the gift of righteousness refers to the opposite, to pardon, to justification, to acceptance with God.

gift of righteousness -- Salvation, reigns thru Christ in the covering of offence (sins) Romans 5:18.

will reign in life -- "In life" stands opposed to the death that reigned as the consequence of the sin of Adam.

It denotes complete freedom from condemnation; from temporal death; from sickness, pain, and sin. It is the usual expression to denote the complete bliss of the saints in glory; Note, John 3:36.

The word “reign” is often applied to the condition of saints in heaven, 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him;” Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:5. It means that they shall be exalted to a glorious state of happiness in heaven; that they shall be triumphant over all their enemies; shall gain an ultimate victory; and shall partake with the Captain of their salvation in the splendors of his dominion above, Revelation 3:21; Luke 22:30.

through the One, Jesus Christ -- As the consequence (effect, results) of Christ’s work.

The apostle here does not state the mode or manner in which this was done; nor does he say that it was perfectly parallel in the mode with the effects of the sin of Adam.

He is comparing the results or consequences of the sin of the one and of the work of the other. There is a similarity in the consequences. The way in which the work of Christ had contributed to this he had stated in Romans 3:24, Romans 3:28.

made righteous -- This expression probably refers to one’s legal status before God and not an actual change in character, since Paul is contrasting justification and condemnation throughout this passage - MSB

Verse 18

Romans 5:18

Therefore, -- Wherefore (Ἄρα οὖν ara oun). This is properly a summing up, a recapitulation of what had been stated in the previous verses.

The apostle resumes the statement or proposition made in Romans 5:12, and after the intermediate explanation in the parenthesis Romans 5:13-17, in this verse and the following, sums up the whole subject. The explanation, therefore, of the previous verses is designed to convey the real meaning of Romans 5:18-19.

as through one man’s offense [trespass; transgression] -- Through Adam’s sin.

[See NASB; NCV]

as by one offence -- The Greek is elliptical here. We may supply “the result was,” in each part of the verse; - CBSC

judgment came -- This is not in the Greek, but it is evidently implied, and is stated in Romans 5:16. The meaning is, that all have been brought under the reign of death by one man.

judgment came to all men, -- The whole race. This explains what is meant by "the many" in Romans 5:15.

resulting in condemnation, -- Romans 5:16.

even so -- Likewise. Similarly. In the manner explained in the previous verses. With the same certainty, and to the same extent.

The apostle does not explain the mode in which it was done, but simply states the fact.

even so through one Man’s righteous act -- This stands opposed to the one offence of Adam, and must mean, therefore, the holiness, obedience, purity of Christ (the Redeemer). The sin of one man involved people in ruin; the obedience unto death of the other Philippians 2:8 restored them to the favor of God.

Not a reference to a single event, but generally to Christ’s obedience (cf. Romans 5:19; Luke 2:49; John 4:34; John 5:30; John 6:38), culminating in the greatest demonstration of that obedience, death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). - MSB

the free gift came to all men, -- What Christ did had a bearing upon all people. As the tendency of the one was to involve the race in condemnation [death, separation from God], so the tendency of the other was to restore them to acceptance with God [and eternal life, see Romans 5:21].

gift of righteousness -- Salvation, Romans 5:17, reigns thru Christ in the covering of offence (sins).

condemnation -- death, separation (spiritual and/or physical) death.

resulting in justification of life -- God’s grace provides justification through Christ’s death. Vs. 18 however does not teach universal salvation. [However, as in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be resurrected John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Some to eternal life with God, and some to eternal damnation with the Devil Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:14-15.]

Verse 19

Romans 5:19

Vs.19 What was lost in Adam’s transgression is restored in Christ’s obedience.

For as by one man’s disobedience -- [This verse is an explanation of the previous verse.] By means of the sin of Adam. Some consequence came from what Adam did.

many were made sinners -- Is this saying:

1) Adam’s sin paved the way for others (all) to become sinners (transgressors of God’s will).

2) Adam’s action defined what sin to be; a transgression of God’s will.

3) Adam’s guilt of sin to be imputed guilt to all his descendants.

[This is rejected on several grounds;

a) nothing is said of "imputing" guilt.

b) it would contradict the definition of transgression, 1 John 3:4;

c) it would contradict Ezekiel 18:20.]

many were made sinners -- Potential sinners. Sin was made a fact. Because of Adam’s sin all mankind die physically and live in a world were there is always the temptation to sin, and all men succumb Romans 3:23. Man doesn’t inherit any guilt of sin either from Adam or from his parents Ezekiel 18:20; but becomes a sinner (to be separated from God Isaiah 59:2) by his own disobedience Ephesians 2:2; Hebrews 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17.

[Note: The ESVSB here follows the Wesleyan doctrine ("original sin") by saying: "Thus, when Adam as mankind’s representative sinned, God regarded the whole human race as guilty sinners, thereby imputing Adam’s guilt to everyone. In other words, God regarded Adam’s guilt as belonging to the whole human race, while also declaring that Adam’s guilt does in fact belong to all."] - WG

So also by one Man’s obedience -- By Christ’s obedience, Hebrews 5:8-9; John 5:30; John 8:28. 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.”

the obedience of the one -- Christ, who please the Father in all things. He was without sin. Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:9

many be made righteous -- By their obedience to the faith, Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26. Man’s sin separates, alienates, him from God. Christ paid the ransom (price to redeem man from sin; only through (or because) of what He did can man be reconciled to God and be counted righteous.

made righteous -- Not transformed into people who act righteously, but considered to be righteous in the judicial sense. - NIVZSB

made righteous -- [See the sermon on Ezekiel 18:1 on "God’s Fair Judgment"]

Verse 20

Romans 5:20

Moreover -- But; now;

What is said in this verse and the following, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that the Law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by the apostle was unnecessary. - BN

the law -- Lit. Law; The Mosaic laws and institutions. The word seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the Old Testament.

entered -- This word usually means to enter secretly or surreptitiously. But it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the Law came in, or was given.

The law entered [came; was added] -- Sin is defined in the law; the sinfulness of sin is revealed.

Law came in, to increase the trespass; -- [RSV] The Mosaical law resulted in more sin, (like that offence which had been introduced by Adam) . Compare Romans 5:15.

The introduction of the Mosaic Law, instead of diminishing the sins of people, only increases them.

[The presence of Mosaic law] caused man’s sin to increase (cf. Romans 7:8-11). Thus it made men more aware of their own sinfulness and inability to keep God’s perfect standard (Romans 7:7; Galatians 3:21-22), and it served as a tutor to drive them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). - MSB

that sin -- The word “that” ἵνα hina in this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that the increase of sin was in fact the effect or result.

that the offense might abound -- The Law defined sin more clearly and precisely and added more transgressions.

so that the trespass might increase -- One of the reasons that God gave the Mosaic law was to reveal the extent of human sin and the need for new measures to deal with that sin. By multiplying commandments, the law provides many more opportunities for disobeying God (see Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 7:7-12; Galatians 3:19). - NIVZSB

the offence -- Man’s offences, regarded as a single whole. - CBSC

might abound -- Sin, transgressions, offenses, increased. ("Be multiplied" -JFB)

1) Greek "to fill up";

2) Greek "to overflow"; thus grace goes beyond measure and surpasses sin’s effect.

But where sin abounded [increased], -- Alike in all dispensations - before the Law, and under the Law. In all conditions of the human family before the gospel, it was the characteristic that sin was prevalent. - BN

grace -- Favor; mercy.

grace abounded much more [ all the more; more exceedingly; in greater abundance]; -- Superabounded. The word is used no where else in the New Testament, except in 2 Corinthians 7:4.

It means that the pardoning mercy of the gospel greatly triumphed over sin, even over the sins of the Jews, though those sins were greatly aggravated by the light which they enjoyed under the advantages of divine revelation.

Verse 21

Romans 5:21

so that, as sin reigned in death, -- Romans 5:14;

unto death -- Producing or causing death.

That is, eternal spiritual death. God’s grace bring "eternal life." Death in this section of Paul’s writing is primarily about spiritual death.

even so [also] -- In like manner also. The provisions of redemption are in themselves ample to meet all the ruins of the results of Adam’s sin (transgression; offense].

might grace reign -- Might mercy be triumphant; see John 1:17, "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

even so grace might reign through righteousness . .

through righteousness -- Through, or by means of, God’s plan of justification; see note Romans 1:17.

through righteousness -- i.e. “through the gift of righteousness,” (Romans 5:17) Justification. Grace provides the Method of the justification of the ungodly; - CBSC

to [unto] eternal life -- See note at Romans 2:7. This stands opposed to “death” in the former part of the verse, and shows that there the apostle had reference to eternal death. The result of God’s plan of justification shall be to produce eternal life. - BN

through Jesus Christ our Lord. --

- - - - - - -

Summary of Romans ch. 5

Four Aspects of Justification

1. Justification from the fall - Romans 5:1

2. Justification results in glory to God - Romans 5:2-5

3. Justification has its grounds in the sacrifice and vicarious death of Christ - Romans 5:6-11

4. Justification is deliverance from the death sin brings - Romans 5:12-21

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Romans 5". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/romans-5.html. 2021.
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