Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Romans
Book: Romans
Chapter: 5

The happy effects of Justification through Faith in the
Righteousness of Christ. (1-5) That we are reconciled By his
Blood. (6-11) The fall of Adam brought all mankind into Sin and
Death. (12-14) The Grace of God, through the Righteousness of
Christ, has more power to bring Salvation, than Adam's Sin had
to bring misery, (15-19) as Grace did superabound. (20,21)

1-5 A blessed change takes place in the sinner's state, when he
becomes a true believer, whatever he has been. Being justified
By Faith he has peace with God. The holy, righteous God, cannot
be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of Sin.
Justification takes away the guilt, and So makes way for peace.
This is through our Lord Jesus Christ; through him as the great
Peace-maker, the Mediator between God and Man. The saints' happy
state is a state of Grace. Into this Grace we are brought, which
teaches that we were not born in this state. We could not have
got into it of ourselves, but we are led into it, as pardoned
offenders. Therein we stand, a posture that denotes
perseverance; we stand firm and safe, upheld By the power of the
enemy. And those who have Hope for the Glory of God hereafter,
have enough to rejoice in now. Tribulation worketh patience, not
in and of itself, but the powerful Grace of God working in and
with the Tribulation. Patient sufferers have most of the Divine
consolations, which abound as Afflictions abound. It Works
needful experience of ourselves. This Hope will not disappoint,
because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of Love.
It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the
Love of God in the hearts of all the saints. A right sense of
God's Love to us, will make us not ashamed, either of our Hope,
or of our sufferings for him.

6-11 Christ died for sinners; not only such as were useless,
but such as were guilty and hateful; such that their Everlasting
Destruction would be to the Glory of God's Justice. Christ died
to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins; and we were yet
sinners when he died for us. Nay, the Carnal mind is not only an
enemy to God, but Enmity itself, chap. 8:7; Col 1:21. But God
designed to deliver from Sin, and to work a great change. While
the sinful state continues, God loathes the sinner, and the
sinner loathes God, Zec 11:8. And that for such as these
Christ should die, is a Mystery; No other such an instance of
Love is known, So that it may Well be the employment of eternity
to Adore and wonder at it. Again; what idea had the Apostle when
he supposed the case of some one dying for a righteous Man? And
yet he only Put it as a thing that might be. Was it not the
undergoing this suffering, that the person intended to be
benefitted might be released therefrom? But from what are
believers in Christ released By his Death? Not from bodily
Death; for that they all do and must endure. The evil, from
which the deliverance could be effected only in this astonishing
manner, must be more dreadful than natural Death. There is No
evil, to which the argument can be applied, except that which
the Apostle actually affirms, Sin, and wrath, the Punishment of
Sin, determined By the unerring Justice of God. And if, By
Divine Grace, they were thus brought to repent, and to believe
in Christ, and thus were justified By the price of his
bloodshedding, and By Faith in that Atonement, much more through
Him who died for them and Rose again, would they be kept from
falling under the power of Sin and Satan, or departing finally
from him. The living Lord of all, will complete the purpose of
his dying Love, By saving all true believers to the uttermost.
Having such a Pledge of Salvation in the Love of God through
Christ, the Apostle declared that believers not only rejoiced in
the Hope of Heaven, and even in their tribulations for Christ's
sake, but they gloried in God also, as their unchangeable Friend
and all-sufficient Portion, through Christ only.

12-14 The design of what follows is Plain. It is to exalt our
views respecting the blessings Christ has procured for us, By
comparing them with the evil which followed upon the fall of our
first Father; and By showing that these blessings not only
extend to the removal of these evils, but far Beyond. Adam
sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and So came to
his children. Thus in him all have sinned. And Death is By Sin;
for Death is the Wages of Sin. Then entered all that misery
which is the due Desert of Sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal
Death. If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence
of Death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all
men, as an infectious disease that none escape. In proof of our
union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression,
observe, that Sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before
the giving of the Law By Moses. And Death reigned in that long
time, not only over adults who wilfully sinned, but also over
multitudes of infants, which shows that they had fallen in Adam
under condemnation, and that the Sin of Adam extended to all his
posterity. He was a figure or Type of Him that was to come as
Surety of a new Covenant, for all who are related to Him.

15-19 Through one Man's Offence, all mankind are exposed to
eternal condemnation. But the Grace and Mercy of God, and the
free Gift of Righteousness and Salvation, are through Jesus
Christ, as Man: yet the Lord from Heaven has brought the
multitude of believers into a more safe and exalted state than
that from which they fell in Adam. This free Gift did not place
them anew in a state of trial, but fixed them in a state of
Justification, as Adam would have been placed, had he stood.
Notwithstanding the differences, there is a striking similarity.
As By the Offence of one, Sin and Death prevailed to the
condemnation of all men, So By the Righteousness of one, Grace
prevailed to the Justification of all related to Christ By
Faith. Through the Grace of God, the Gift By Grace has abounded
to many through Christ; yet multitudes choose to remain under
the dominion of Sin and Death, rather than to apply for the
blessings of the reign of Grace. But Christ will in No Wise cast
out any who are willing to come to him.

20,21 By Christ and his Righteousness, we have more and greater
privileges than we lost By the Offence of Adam. The moral Law
showed that many thoughts, tempers, words, and actions, were
sinful, thus transgressions were multiplied. Not making Sin to
abound the more, but discovering the sinfulness of it, even as
the letting in a clearer Light into a room, discovers the Dust
and filth which were there before, but were not seen. The Sin of
Adam, and the effect of corruption in us, are the abounding of
that Offence which appeared On the entrance of the Law. And the
terrors of the Law make Gospel comforts the more sweet. Thus God
the Holy Spirit has, By the blessed Apostle, delivered to us a
most important Truth, full of consolation, suited to our need as
sinners. Whatever one may have above another, every Man is a
sinner against God, stands condemned By the Law, and needs
Pardon. A Righteousness that is to justify cannot be made up of
a mixture of Sin and Holiness. There can be No title to an
eternal reward without a pure and spotless Righteousness: let us
look for it, even to the Righteousness of Christ.