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Commentary on Romans
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Romans 5:18

18. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

18. Itaque quemadmodum, per unius delictum, in omnes homines in condemnationem; sic et per unius justificationem, in omnes homines in justificationem vitæ.

18. Therefore, etc. This is a defective sentence; it will be complete if the words condemnation and justification be read in the nominative case; as doubtless you must do in order to complete the sense. We have here the general conclusion from the preceding comparison; for, omitting the mention of the intervening explanation, he now completes the comparison, “As by the offense of one we were made (constitute) sinners; so the righteousness of Christ is efficacious to justify us. He does not say the righteousness — δικαιοσύνην, but the justification — δικαίωμα, 173173     The meaning of this word is evident here; for it stands in contrast with παράπτωμα — offense or transgression, in the former clause, and is identical in sense with ὑπακόη — obedience, in the next verse. It means what is appointed and adjudged as right; and hence it is rendered “ordinance,” Luke 1:6; “judgment,” Romans 1:32; and, in Romans 5:16, “justification,” when it stands opposed to κατάκριμα — condemnation, and means absolution, acquittal, as the determination of the judge. It signifies here, that what Christ did was according to God’s appointment; it was something directly contrary to offense or transgression; and what it was is explained in the next verse by the word “obedience.” Wolfius says, that δικαίωμα is the satisfaction of Christ, or his active and passive obedience, Romans 5:19, — that δικαιοσύνη is the merit of Christ, obtained by his death and applied to us by faith, Romans 3:22, — and that δικαίωσις is the act of justification which follows from the satisfaction of Christ, apprehended by faith. — Ed. of Christ, in order to remind us that he was not as an individual just for himself, but that the righteousness with which he was endued reached farther, in order that, by conferring this gift, he might enrich the faithful. He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him. 174174     “Nam etsi passus est Christus pro peccatis totius mundi. atque omnibus indifferenter Dei benignitate offertur; non tamen omnes apprehendum.” It appears from this sentence that Calvin held general redemption. — Ed.

These two words, which he had before used, judgment and grace, may be also introduced here in this form, “As it was through God’s judgment that the sin of one issued in the condemnation of many, so grace will be efficacious to the justification of many.” Justification of life is to be taken, in my judgment, for remission, which restores life to us, as though he called it life-giving. 175175     It is an Hebraistic form of speaking, genitivus effectûs Its meaning is that it is a justification unto life, whose end is life, or, which issues in life, that is, eternal life, according to its import in Romans 5:17, when reigning in life — ἐν ζωὟ, is spoken of; and the word “eternal,” is added to it in the last verse. This life commences with justification, and therefore this view includes what Calvin says, though it extends farther. — Ed. For whence comes the hope of salvation, except that God is propitious to us; and we must be just, in order to be accepted. Then life proceeds from justification. 176176     In our version are introduced “judgment” and “free-gift,” from verse 16; and it is what has been done by most interpreters. The words are found here in no MSS.; but there is another reading countenanced by four MSS., as given by Griesbach, and two of them ancient; the word for offense is put in the nominative case, τὸ παράπτωμα, and the word for righteousness the same, τὸ δικαίωμα. Then the reading would be —
   18. So then, as through one the transgression was, as to all men, unto condemnation; so also through one the righteousness is, as to all men, unto justification of life.

   This agrees better with the following verse, though the meaning is substantially the same with what is given in our version. — Ed.


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