The parenthetical statement is now ended, but Paul’s thought commencing in verse 18, while it is logically connected back to verse 12, is truthfully just a reiteration of the same concept described in the last three verses.  He pronounces again that it was by the offense of one that judgment came upon all men to condemnation.  When Adam sinned, God passed judgment not upon him only, but upon all his posterity, who were seminally in his loins, and by a federal transaction charged with his guilt.  The judgment was the judgment of death, which includes the second death, and eternal separation from God.  All who remain in this deplorable state shall suffer not the death of the body only, but also be cast in the end into the lake of fire, which is the second death.


But just as Adam’s guilt was transmitted to all his family by a federal transaction, there is another federal transaction which lifts the sinner out of his state of guilt and condemnation and into a condition of justification and acceptance.  This comes through the second Adam, the other federal head which God appointed, who succeeded where the first Adam failed.  Adam by one act of sin brought ruin and condemnation, but Christ by His unblemished righteousness brought justification to all those who come into union with Him by faith.  By His righteousness the free gift comes upon all men unto justification of life.

The all men here corresponds to the same clause used in the first half of the verse.  Clearly, Paul means that condemnation came upon all those whom Adam represented; conversely, Christ’s righteousness, and the justification before God which it entails, comes upon all those that He represented.  It cannot possibly be that Christ represented every human soul, as Adam did, because then all the human race would enjoy the benefits of imputed righteousness, which unquestionably includes eternal life.  Were this the case, then universal salvation would have to be true, because God would be chargeable with a monstrous injustice were He to damn any individual who had the righteousness of the Son of God upon his account.  These terms, using the same words, are meant to describe the two different classes of mankind, under the two federal heads.  One group remains in sin and condemnation, the other group has been brought out of that state, and cannot come into condemnation, because they have passed from death unto life.