Theology, 5:277, 278). They did not sin like Adam, but they ?sinned in him, and fell with him, in that first transgression? (Westminster Larger Catechism, 22).
Verses 15-17 show how the work of grace differs from and surpasses the work of sin.
Over against God?s exact justice in punishing all for the first sin which all committed in Adam is set the gratuitous justification of all that are in Christ. Adam?s sin is the act of Adam and his posterity together; hence the imputation to the posterity is just and merited. Christ?s obedience is the work of Christ alone; hence the imputation of it to the elect is gracious and unmerited. Here tou<v pollou>v is not of equal extent with oiJ polloi> in the first clause, because other passages teach that ?the many? who die in Adam are not conterminous with ?the many? who live in Christ; see <461522>1 Corinthians 15:22; <402546>Matthew 25:46; also, see note on verse 18, below. Tou<v pollou>v here refers to the same persons who, in verse 17, are said to ?receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.? Verse 16 notices a numerical difference between the condemnation and the justification. Condemnation results from one offense and justification delivers from many offences. Verse 17 enforces and explains verse 16. If the union with Adam in his sin was certain to bring destruction, the union with Christ in his righteousness is yet more certain to bring salvation.
Verse 18 resumes the parallel between Adam and Christ, which was commenced in verse 12 but was interrupted by the explanatory parenthesis in verses 13-17. ?As through one trespass...unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness...unto all men unto justification of [necessary to] life.? Here the ?all men to condemnation? = the oiJ polloi> in verse 15 and the ?all men unto justification of life? = the tou<v pollou>v in verse 15. There is a totality in each case but, in the former case, it is the ?all men? who derive their physical life from Adam and in the latter case, it is the ?all men? who derive their spiritual life from Christ. (Compare <461522>1 Corinthians 15:22 ? ?For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.? In the last clause Paul is speaking, as the context shows, not of the resurrection of all men, both saints and sinners, but only of the blessed resurrection of the righteous. In other words, the resurrection of those who are one with Christ.)
Verse 19. ?For as through the one man?s disobedience the many were constituted sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the man
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