17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
reign [as kings] in life [eternal life] through the one man Jesus Christ.
The reward of our faith in Christ is the privilege of reigning with Him in eternity. He is the Agent of our endowment to reign before God. As death reigns like a tyrant over everyone, so those in Christ reign “in life.” They are no victims under a cruel ruler but are rulers themselves. Their kingdom is life itself.
Our reign is a consequence of our final vindication before God—receiving God’s righteousness through Christ. Because of this, we enjoy the life of a king.
This section of Romans two times states that death reigns. Now the believer will “reign in life.” Those who were enslaved to death now become kings in life. “Life” is the opposite of death. Believers reign both in time and eternity with eternal life.
It was through one man that condemnation was brought upon mankind; it was through one Man taking that condemnation on Himself that we receive a righteous standing and the right to reign before God. He transforms lives; He translates slaves into kings.
Believers reign in ultimate freedom by delegated royal power from Christ.
Since it is true that physical and spiritual death reigned through Adam, then to a greater degree believers will rule through Christ. By one sin universal death came to all men, but by Christ’s one sacrifice eternal life came to those who believe. His one sacrifice was sufficient for all who believe.
The privilege of reigning as kings began at salvation for the believer. This will continue into eternity.
Death is the final result of one epoch in Adam and life is the final result in other epoch of Christ. In each case the future controls the character of the whole. The final epoch of Christ was initiated by Him and continues to be determined by Him.