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 the justification of life.”–This is the underlying principle of the Imputation of Sin and the Imputation of Righteousness, which is really the Doctrine of the Federal Headship of the race in Adam and Christ.

         Therefore as by the offence of one judgment”
         Literally:  “So then, as through one deviation”–This is a summing up, a recapitulation of   what had been stated in the previous verses.

                 OFFENCE:   (Grk.–paraptōma)– Literally:  “transgression; deviation.”

Paul resumes the statement or proposition he made in verse 12; and after the intermediate explanation in the parenthesis, verses 13-17, in this verse and the following sums up the whole subject. 

                 THEREFORE:  (Grk.–ara oun)—Literally: “So then.”–Understand that “therefore” is really too strong a rendering of this word.        

Paul now resumes the statement or proposition made in v. 12 , in order to give formally the concluding member of it, which had been done once and again substantially, in the intermediate verses.  Therefore, the explanation of the previous verses is designed to convey the real meaning of verses 18-19. :

“as by the offence of one”
Literally:  “as through one deviation”–Admitting this as an undisputed and everywhere      an apparent fact which no one can call in question. By Adam's offence, which brought the sentence of death on ALL our race.

                 AS BY:  (Grk.–hōs dio)“as through…”

“judgment came upon all men
Literally:  “Condemnation was to all men.”–The meaning is that all have been brought under the reign of death by one man.  It was in love that God held that Judgment Day in Eden.  In love He judges us, condemned us, in our Federal Head (Adam), that He might justify us in the work and Person of the other Federal Head to come (Christ).

                 JUDGMENT:  (Grk.–katakrima)—Literally:  “condemnation.”

                 TO:  ( Grk.– eis)–This Greek preposition is often used to show result.

         “upon all men”
         Literally:  “toward all men”–That is, the whole human race.

This explains“the many” in v. 15. Adam's offence  brought the sentence of death on all our race. 

         “to condemnation”–The judgment brought the sentence of death to pass upon Adam, which, by consequence, overwhelmed his posterity. 

         “even so”
         Literally: “So also.”–In the manner explained in the previous verses.  With the same certainty and to the same extent.

“by the righteousness of one”
Literally: “Through one righteous act.”–This stands opposed to the one offence of Adam, and therefore must mean, therefore, the holiness, obedience, and purity of the Redeemer.

                 RIGHTEOUSNESS:  (Grk.–dikaiōmatos)–Literally:  “righteous act;” or, “justifying act.”

The sin of one man (Adam) involved men in ruin; the obedience unto death of the other (Christ) restored them to the favor of God (Phil. 2:8).

“came upon all men”
Literally:  “Toward all men.” —That is, had a bearing upon all men; was originally adapted to the race. The “all” here really only refers to believers.  Only those who receive Christ as their personal Savior will receive this righteousness.

As the sin of Adam was of such a nature in the relation in which he stood as to affect all the race, so the work of Christ, in the relation in which He stood, was adapted also to all the race. As the tendency of the one was to involve the race in condemnation, so the tendency of the other was to restore them to acceptance with God. There was an original applicability in the work of Christ to all men–a richness, a fullness of the atonement fitted to meet the sins of the entire world, and restore the race to favor.

         “unto justification of life”
         Literally: “To justification of life.”–Is that sentence of God, by which a sinner under sentence of
death is adjudged to life. 

With reference to that justification which is connected with eternal life. That is, the  work of Christ is adapted to produce acceptance with God, to the same extent as the crime of Adam has affected the race by involving them in sin and misery.

JUSTIFICATION:  (Grk.–dikaiōsis)–“The act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to Him”–Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.

Justification not only provides release from the penalty of sin, but also is a place in the risen Christ Himself (see Col. 1:12; II Cor. 5:21).  How, in what sense are we “the righteousness of God” in Christ?  It is at once evident that to set us    in His own presence in Christ, as He has done, God must:

  1. Reckon to use the infinitely perfect expiation of Christ in putting away our sin by His blood.
  2. Makes us one with Christ in His death
  3. Place us in Christ Risen, even as Christ is received before Him.

                OF LIFE:  (ês)–Describe the quality of the righteousness bestowed upon men.  This is a righteousness which is connected with the imparting of spiritual life.

All this He has done; so that He says we are the “righteousness of God in Christ.”  If we are in Christ, we are before God in Christ, “even as He”—accepted in Him.  Not only because our sins are forgiven us, but also because the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us.  Of itself, this righteous standing is a purely legal matter and does NOT impart life, nor does it change character.  But it is accompanied by the life that God is, imparted to the believing sinner in his regeneration. 

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.”
This verse really sums up the Doctrine of our Federal Guilt by Adam’s sin.  There is no more direct statement in Scripture concerning justification that we can better find than is found here in this verse.  Verse 19 first sums up the Doctrine of our Federal Guilt by Adam’s sin and then sums up our justification by Christ’s death.

“For by one man’s disobedience”
Literally: “For through the disobedience of one man.”  That is, by means of the sin of Adam. This simply affirms the fact that the condemnation upon mankind resulted from the sin of Adam. By Adam's disobedience, all disobeyed and were counted sinners.

         DISOBEDIENCE:  (Grk.–parakoês)–Literally:  “disloyalty; disobedience.”  This is one of the nine Greek words for sin used in the N.T. It describes the nature of Adam’s first act of sin; that one act that plunged the entire race into with its accompanying degradation and misery. This word is used only here, II Cor. 10:6; Heb. 9:2.  

                     MANY:  (Grk.–hoi polloi)–Literally: “The many”  That is, all men, were constituted sinners. 

Being then in the loins of their first parent, the common head and representative of them all.  See verse 15.  It is interesting that in Bible prophecy, when the word, “many” is used by itself, it is usually referring to the Nation of Israel–“He shall confirm the covenant with many (Dan. 9:27).

         “were made sinners”
         Literally:  “Were constituted; were set down as sinners.”   This verb usually means, “to set; “to appoint; to constitute..”  In the N.T. it has two leading significances:

1.      To appoint to an office; to set over others (Matt. 24:45, 47; Luke 12:42ff).
2.      To become; to be in fact (James 3:6; 4:4). “So is the tongue among our members," etc.

That is, it becomes such. James 4:4, "The friendship of the world is enmity with God;" it becomes such; it is in fact thus, and is thus to be regarded. The meaning in this verse is that men were made condemned by a constitution of Divine appointment; or simply declares what was already a fact. 

 “sinners”–That is, those who deserve to be punished.  All who are condemned are sinners themselves.  They are not innocent victims condemned for the crime of another.

          SINNERS:   (Grk.–hamartoloi)–As all men were in the loins of Adam when he sinned, and all are descended from him, all are partakers of his fallen nature.  Therefore, in every age        and climate men have been sinners; there is NO exception.  Many expositors believe that   “sinners” here means those “liable to punishment and condemned to death.”

“by the obedience of One”
Literally: “Through the obedience of the One.”–Meaning the obedience of Christ.  This stands diametrically opposed to the sin of Adam, and includes His entire work of the redemption

         OBEDIENCE:  (Grk.–hupakoês)–Here we see Paul making another of his “play on words” in the Greek; “disobedience” (parakoês) in contrast to “obedience” (hupakoês).  The main idea of hupakoês is submission to what one hears.

The obedience referred to here is the obedience of the Lord Jesus as spoken of in Heb. 10:7, where He is quoted as saying to God the Father, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.”  The Father’s will was the Cross.

         “shall many be made righteous”
         Literally:  “The many shall be constituted righteous.”–All are counted obedient, and hence,  righteous.

        MADE:  (Grk.–kathistêmi)–This is the Greek word used in both instances in this verse.  It literally means, “to set, place, put; to anoint one to administer and off; to constitute.”   Put into a position of guilt and righteousness respectively. Here the context does not point to a moral change but rather to a legal standing.

By the one disobedient act of Adam,  all the human race was constituted (made) as sinful by the judicial act of God.  Conversely, by the obedient act of the Lord Jesus Christ all who believe are constituted (made) as righteous by the judicial act of God.

1.      Was created holy; capable of obeying law; yet free to fall.
2.      Was given a law, adapted to his condition; simple, plain easy to be obeyed and fitted to give human nature a trial in circumstances as favorable as possible.
3.      Violation of this law exposed him to the threatened penalty as he had understood it, and to all the collateral woes which it might carry with it.
4.      Was the Federal Head of the human race, and human nature was so far tried in him, that it may be said that he was on trial not just for himself, but for his posterity, inasmuch as his fall would involve them to ruin.
5.      posterity are, in consequence of his sin, subject to the same train of ills as if they had personally been the transgressors.

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
When God gave the Law, He gave with it the sacrificial system.  Then later on Christ came to fulfill that part of it also.  In other words, God has given to the human race (a lost race) an opportunity to be delivered from the guilt of sins—not the nature of sin.  You and I will have that old sin nature throughout our lives.

“Moreover the law entered in”
Literally:  “but the Law came in”–To continue the antithesis.  Not the law, but law in general.         

        The definite article, “the” is not in the original Greek text.  It was added by the KJV translators, but unfortunately, their addition of this article somewhat changed the meaning of this verse.  The reference is not only to the Law of Moses, but to all divine law, the law written on the hearts of the Gentiles.  The effect of its entrance was that offences abounded. Law was continually broken. The reference here is not to Adam's sin, but to the personal sins of each man.
        If you say, “the Law” it could apply to the Mosaic Law and its institutions. The Jew might say, If the whole purposes of God towards men center in Adam and Christ, where does the law come in, and what was the use of it?  The word “law” seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the O.T.  A written revelation of the will of God was given and embodied in the moral and ceremonial law of the O.T.
         What is said in this, and the following verse, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that that the law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by shows them that the effect of the law of Moses was to increase,  rather than to diminish the sins which had been introduced into the world.  And if such was the fact, it could not be pleaded that it was adapted to overcome the acknowledged evils of the apostasy.

                 MOREOVER:   (Grk.–de)– Better rendered as, “but.”  Actually, this word “moreover” is not even in the Greek text.     

       ENTERED IN:  (Grk.–pareiselthen)-Literally:  “Came in beside.”  Giving the force of rapid beside;” very significant. This word usually means “to enter secretly;” but it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the law came in, or was given.  It came in addition to, or it supervened the state before Moses when men were living without any revelation.

But the word expresses an important idea besides “entering.”  It signifies, “entered incidentally,” or “parenthetically.”  The meaning is, that the pronouncement of the law at Sinai was no primary or essential feature of the divine plan, but it was “added” (Gal. 3:19) for a subordinate purpose,  That is, the more fully to reveal the evil occasioned by Adam, and the need and glory of the remedy by ChristIn Gal. 2:4 the same word is rendered as “came in privily”–“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privaly…”

“that the offence might abound”
Literally: “That the deviation might abound.”–But what offense; what deviation?

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. Throughout all this section “the offence” (four times repeated besides here) has one definite meaning, namely, the one first offense of Adam. What was one act of disobedience in the head has been converted into a vital and virulent principle of disobedience in all the members of the human family, whose every act of willful rebellion proclaims itself the child of the original transgression.

         THAT:  (Grk.-hina)– This word in this place, does not mean that it was the purpose of giving the Law that sin might abound or increase, but that such was in fact its effect.

         It had this tendency to excite and increase sin, not to restrain or subdue it.  The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by Paul in 7:7-11.  The Law expresses the duty of man: it is spiritual and holy.  It is in opposition to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and so it excites opposition, or provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency.
         A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency.

         MIGHT ABOUND:  (Grk.–pleonasêi)–Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgement of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression.  Might increase; that is, would be more apparent, more violent, more extensive. The introduction of the Mosaic law, instead of diminishing the sins of men, only increases them.

The offence which had been introduced by the sin of Adam (comp. with v. 15). As men, after the giving of the written law, had more commands and obligations which they knowingly violated, the number and guilt of their sins was greatly increased. Therefore, through their opposition to the Law,, and their voluntary disobedience of it, aggravated their condemnation; and was adapted to make them feel that if they were ever saved, it must be by grace, and thus prepare them to believe on Christ (Gal. 3:24).

“But where sin abounded”–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.                    

“grace did much more abound”–That is, favor; mercy. rather, “did exceedingly abound,” or “superabound.”  The comparison here is between the multiplication of one offense into countless transgressions, and such an overflow of grace as more than meets that appalling case.

         MORE ABOUNDED:  (Literally–hypereperisseusen)This Greek word is used only one other place in the N.T. (II Cor. 7:4)–“Great {is} my boldness of speech toward you, great {is} my glorying of your:  I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding (hypereperisseusen)  joyful in all our trib ulation.”                  

         This Greek word (hypereperisseusen) is translated in various ways:  “exceeded immeasurably,”  or, or “surpassed by far,” or “overflowed beyond.”  The preposition  (hyper)  magnifies or intensifies the verb. 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.
         The grace of the gospel offers a free pardon to all who have broken law if they will come to God through Christ.  Not only in the remission of that sin which Adam brought on us, but of all our own; not only in remission of sins, but infusion of holiness; not only in deliverance from death, but admission to everlasting life, a far more noble and excellent life than that which we lost by Adam's fall.

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The claims of God’s righteousness are fully met in the death of Christ. The kingdom is fully and firmly established on the cross of Christ.  All other ground is sinking sand.  The believing sinner now has eternal life by being united to the last Adam, the raised and glorified Savior.  This makes possible the sanctification of the saved sinner, which is the them of Chapter 6.

“That as sin hath reigned”
Literally: “That as sin ruled.”–Hence, with this gracious gospel of mercy for every penitent believer, even as sin once reigned and caused universal death. Observe, the word “offense is not used and more, as that had been sufficiently illustrated. What better befitted this comprehensive summation of the whole matter–the great general term sin.  See notes for v. 14.     

         REIGNED:  (Grk.–basileuō)–Meaning, “to rule as king.”  Here we again we see that sin is being personified, and refers to a nature, the totally depraved nature of the unsaved person.  Here Paul pictures sin as reigning as an absolute monarch.

“unto death”
Literally:  “In death,”–In the sphere of death; triumphing and (as it were) reveling in that complete destruction of its victims. Producing or causing

Death is that sphere in which the reign of sin is exercised and shown.  But conversely, grace is supplied in superabundance in order that it might reign as king through righteousness, resulting in eternal life and this eternal life in its supplication to the believing sinner is made possible through the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross

         “even so might grace reign”
         Literally: “So also grace might rule.”–In like manner, also. 

        MIGHT REIGN:  (Grk.–basileusē)–“To be king, to rule.”  Showing the sovereignty of grace through righteousness by our being accounted righteous through faith, resulting in everlasting life through Christ our Lord.

         The provisions of redemption are in themselves ample to meet all the ruins of the fall. In verses 14 and 17 we had the reign of death over the guilty and condemned in Adam; here it is the reign of the mighty causes of these–of SIN which clothes Death a Sovereign with venomous power (I Cor. 15:56) and with awful authority (6:23), and of GRACE, the grace which originated the scheme of salvation, the grace which “sent the Son to be the Savior of the world,” the grace which "made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin," the grace which "makes us to be the righteousness of God in Him, “so that” we who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness do reign in life by One, Jesus Christ!
         That all might accept the Gospel, and enjoy the divine favor, and thus secure eternal life through Jesus Christ. The scope of God's Plan of Salvation is wide enough for all. If there are those who are unsaved, it is because they will not come to Christ that they might have life. Might mercy be triumphant (see John 1:17), “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

“through righteousness”–Through, or by means of, God’s plan of justification. Through the righteousness which God gives through faith in Christ, who died for our sins according to the Scriptures, rose for our justification, and ever lives to make intercession for us.

        “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scritures;         
        And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures
:” I Cor. 15:3-4).           
       Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25).

         “unto eternal life”
          Literally: “To live everlasting.”–Which is
salvation in its highest form and fullest development for ever. 

This stands opposed to the death referred to in the first part of this verse. The result of God’s Plan of Justification shall be to produce eternal life.  Paul shows here that the Gospel is able to overcome sin of the most malignant form, of the most aggravated character, of the longest duration.  The Gospel is more than sufficient to meet all the evils of sin and to raise up the race to heaven.

“by Jesus Christ our Lord”
Literally: “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Thus, on that “Name which is above every name,” the echoes of this hymn to the glory of “Grace” die away, and “Jesus is left alone.”