The same line of thought is continued in the 16th verse, the same stark contrast being drawn.  Once again, the apostle shows us that the principle of federal headship is the basis of how God deals with all men.  He sees them all, either in Adam their fallen head, or in Christ, Whose righteousness He bestows as a free gift upon all believers.  The process itself is the same, as far as God’s determining of our status before Him; the difference lies entirely in who we have as our representative.  If we remain in Adam, then we are still in a state of condemnation, thanks to the imputation of his sin, as well as our own actual sins.  But if we are in union with Christ by faith, then He is our representative, and God sees not our own polluted record, but the spotless righteousness of our Saviour, Who kept the law in our place to a jot and a tittle. 


The judgment of God came upon all men to condemnation.  This judgment, Paul states plainly, was by one man.  Carnal intuition deems it unfair that God should condemn me for something my ancient ancestor did.  But the Lord seeth not as man seeth.  He saw fit to place all men in two categories, under one of two representative: either Adam, who sinned and therefore wrought judgment and condemnation, or in Christ, Who succeeded in everything given Him to do, and therefore wrought righteousness and life for His own.  To remain in unbelief is to remain under Adam as a representative, and therefore the judgment of death and condemnation remains upon the unbeliever.  Only by repentance and faith can he leave this state of condemnation and enter into a state of acceptation, righteousness, and life.

Judgment came by one man unto condemnation for all the descendants of Adam, but the free gift pardons our many offenses and ends in justification.  Even though we are guilty in Adam, and guilty in ourselves, God will declare us righteous because we are united to Jesus Christ.  Adam was placed in a state of probation, with but one law to observe; he failed, and brought about misery, ruin, and death.  Jesus Christ was placed also in a state of probation, if we may so speak of the impeccable Son of God, and He succeeded where Adam failed, resisting every temptation, and obeying every last law of God, from the smallest to the greatest.  Those for whom He died have their sins pardoned, and His righteousness is imputed to them, and received by faith.  They are made righteous by God, and considered righteous before God, not for anything done themselves, but entirely based upon what Jesus Christ has accomplished in our stead.