Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life.
These words stand as a proof of general redemption; and the sense given of them is, that Christ died for the justification of all men; and that justification of life was procured by him for, and is offered unto, all men; it being apparent that the apostle is comparing the condemnation which is procured by the sin of Adam, with the free gift of justification procured by the second Adam, as to the extent of persons concerned in both; all men, in the first clause, being to be taken in the utmost latitude, the same word in the latter clause must be taken in the same manner, or the grace of the comparison is wholly lost. To all which I reply;
1. These words say nothing at all about the death of Christ, or of his dying for any persons or any thing, but speak of his righteousness and the virtue of it, to justification of life; by which righteousness is meant his active obedience, as appears from the following verse: nor do the Scriptures anywhere say, that Christ died for our justification, but that he died for our sins, and rose again for our justification. It is true indeed that justification is procured by the death, as well as the obedience of Christ; as that we are justified by his blood as well as by his righteousness; but it cannot be said, with any propriety, that justification of life is offered to any; since justification is a forensic, a law term, and signifies a sentence pronounced, or declared, and not offered. A judge, when he either acquits or condemns, he does not offer the sentence of justification or condemnation, but pronounces either: so God, when he justifies, he does not offer justification to men, but pronounces them righteous, through the righteousness of his Son; and when Christ procured justification, it was not an offer of it, but the blessing itself. These words then are not to be understood either of Christ’s dying for justification for any, especially for every individual man; since all men, in this large sense, are not justified; many will be righteously condemned, and eternally punished; and consequently his death, respecting them, must be in vain, were this the case; nor of the procuring of justification, still less of the offer of it, but of the application of it to the persons here mentioned.
2. It is apparent, that the apostle is here comparing the first and the second Adam together, as heads and representatives of their respective offspring, and the effects of sin, to the condemnation of those that sprang from the one, with the grace of God to the justification of such that belong to the other, and not the number of persons concerned in these things. His plain meaning is, that, as the first Adam conveyed sin, condemnation, and death, to all his posterity; so the second Adam communicates grace, righteousness, and life, to all his posterity; and herein the latter has the preference to the former, and in which lies the abundance of grace here spoken of; that the things communicated by the one are, in their own nature, to be preferred to the other; and particularly, that the righteousness, which Christ gives to his, not only justifies from the sin of the first Adam, and secures from all condemnation by it, but also from all other offenses whatever, and gives a right to eternal life, wherefore it is called the justification of life, which the first Adam never had. Were the comparison between the numbers of such who are condemned by the sin of the one, and of those who are justified by the righteousness of the other, the numbers being the same, the grace of the comparison would be wholly lost; for where would be the exuberance when there is perfect equality?
3. Admitting that the apostle is comparing the. condemnation which, was procured by the sin of Adam with the free gift of justification procured by the second Adam, as to the extent of persons concerned in both; this extent cannot be thought to reach to more than such who respectively spring from them, and belong to them. No more could be condemned by the sin of Adam than those who naturally descended from him by ordinary generation. The angels that fell are not condemned for Adam’s sin, from whom they did not spring, but for their own personal iniquities. This sin reached not to the man Christ Jesus, nor was he condemned by it for himself, because he descended not from Adam by ordinary generation; so no more can be justified by the righteousness of Christ, nor does that reach to the justification of more than those who are Christ’s, that belong to him, and who are in time regenerated by his Spirit and grace, and appear to be his spiritual seed and offspring.
4. All men, in the latter clause of this text, can never design every individual of mankind; for if the free gift came upon all men, in this large sense, to justification of life, every man would have a righteousness to be justified, be secure from wrath to come, have a right to eternal life; and at last be glorified and everlastingly saved; for such who are justified by the blood of Christ, shall be saved from wrath through him (Rom. 5:9; 8:30); and whom God justifies, them he also glorifies. Now it is certain, that all men, in the utmost latitude of this phrase, have not a justifying righteousness; there is a set of unrighteous men who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, are not, nor will they ever be justified; but the wrath of God abides on them, and will be their everlasting portion: could it be proved that the righteousness of Christ is imputed by the Father, and applied by the Spirit, to the justification of every man, and that every man will be saved, we shall readily come in to the doctrine of universal redemption by the death of Christ. But,
5. The apostle is the best interpreter of his own words, and we may easily learn, from this epistle, who the all men are, to whom the free gift by Christ’s righteousness comes, to justification of life; they are the elect whom God justifies, through the righteousness of his Son, and secures from condemnation by his death (Rom.8:33, 34); they are all the seed to whom the promise of righteousness and life belongs, and is sure (Rom. 4:16); they are the all that believe, upon whom and unto whom the righteousness of Christ is manifested, revealed, and applied by the Spirit of God (Rom. 3:22); and they are such who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17); and, in a word, the gift comes upon all those that are Christ’s, and belong to him to justification, even as judgment came upon all to condemnation, through the offense of Adam, that belong to him or descend from him. The text in 1 Corinthians 15:22, for as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, in which the same comparison is made between the two heads, Adam and Christ, and their different effects, and which is sometimes used, in favor of general redemption, is foreign to the purpose, since it speaks not of redemption by Christ, nor of spiritual and eternal life through him, but of the resurrection of the dead, as is evident from the whole context; and that not of every individual man, only of such as are Christ’s, and who sleep in him, of whom he is the first-fruits, verse 20, 23; who will be raised by virtue of union to him, and come forth unto the resurrection of life; which all will not, for some will awake to shame and everlasting contempt, yea, to the resurrection of damnation, which, by the way, is a proof that the word all does not always design every individual of mankind.
 Whitby, p. 113, l17, 118; ed. 2. 111, 115, 116.