But not as the offence, so also is the free gift
By "the offence", or "fall", as the word signifies, is meant the first sin of Adam; by which he offended God, and fell from that estate in which he was created, and all his posterity with him; and by the "free gift" is meant, the righteousness of Christ, which justifies from that, and all other offences: now, though there is a great likeness between Adam and Christ; both are men, the first Adam is called "the one man", and so is the second Adam Jesus Christ; partly for the sake of the comparison between him and the first, and also to express the truth of his human nature; and because the Redeemer ought to be a man, though not a mere man; both are sole authors of what they convey to their respective offspring, Adam of sin, Christ of righteousness; both convey single things, Adam only one sin, not more, for when he had committed one sin, he broke the covenant made with him and his posterity, and so ceased in after acts to be a representative of them; Christ conveys his righteousness, or obedience to the law, without any additional works of righteousness of ours to complete it; and both convey what they do, "to all" their respective offspring: yet there is a dissimilitude between them, as to the manner of conveyance and the effects thereof; the offence or sin of Adam is conveyed in a natural way, or by natural generation, to all who descend from him in that manner; the righteousness of Christ is conveyed in a way of grace, to his spiritual seed: hence it is called, not only the "free gift", but "the grace of God, and the gift by grace", which is "by one man, Jesus Christ"; because of the grace of the Father, in fixing and settling the method of justification, by the righteousness of his Son; in sending him to work out one, that would be satisfying to law and justice; and in his gracious acceptation of it, on the behalf of his people, and the imputation of it to them; and because of the grace of the Son in becoming man, in being made under the law, yea, made sin and a curse, in order to bring in an everlasting righteousness; and because of the grace of the Spirit, in revealing and applying it, and working faith to receive it; for as the righteousness itself is a free grace gift, bestowed upon unworthy persons, so is faith likewise, by which it is laid hold on and embraced: and as there is a disagreement in the manner of conveying these things, so likewise in the effects they have upon the persons to whom they are conveyed; and the apostle argues from the influence and effect the one has, to the far greater and better influence and effect the other has:
for if through the offence of one many be dead;
as all Adam's posterity are, not only subject to a corporeal death, but involved in a moral or spiritual, and liable to an eternal one, through the imputation of guilt, and the derivation of a corrupt nature from him: then
much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one
man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many;
that is, the righteousness of Christ, in which the grace of God is so illustrious, is much more effectual to the giving of life to all his seed and offspring; not barely such a life as Adam had in innocence, and which he lost by the offence, but a spiritual and an eternal one; which sheds the exuberance of this grace, which secures and adjudges to a better life than what was lost by the fall.