As righteousness [tendeth] to life
Or, is unto life: not mere outward acts of moral righteousness; these may be done where there is no principle of spiritual life, and are no other than dead works, and will never bring to everlasting life; indeed the best righteousness of man's is no justification of life, nor can it entitle to it, nor is meritorious of it. Godliness, or true holiness, has the promise of this life and that to come, ( 1 Timothy 4:8 ) ; and so here in the Hebrew text it is, "unto lives" F24, in the plural number. Internal grace, or powerful godliness, which is the new man that is created in righteousness, gives a meetness for everlasting life, and issues in it; particularly the righteousness of Christ, as that is a perfectly justifying one; it makes a man alive in a law sense, and gives a title and claim to eternal life; so he that pursueth evil [pursueth it] to his own death;
or, it is "to his own death"; it issues in that: not he that is overtaken in a fault, or falls into sin through the infirmity of the flesh and the force of temptation, but such who eagerly follow after it and overtake it; who give up themselves unto it, weary themselves in committing it, draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope; these often by their sins bring diseases upon them, which end in a corporeal death; or by means of which they come into the hand of the civil magistrate, and are capitally punished; and, however, die the second death, or an eternal one, the just wages of sin, ( Romans 6:23 ) .