In the last few weeks we have been discussing the fact that we are all sinners, we are all guilty – No matter who you are, where you come from, or what time you live – All are guilty before God
Paul makes this clear as he writes the first chapters of the letter to the Romans
He tells us that we have all broken God’s laws – And because we have broken them we are all guilty – But even though we are guilty, we have been “justified” (declared not guilty)
He says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift” Romans 3:23-24
And this gift is not a result of doing good things, but is only received through faith
He says it this way in 3:28, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” Romans 3:28
So, what Paul is saying is that the free gift of salvation is by faith and not by works (not by doing good things) – It was never by works, it was always by faith! – And if you were to argue with him, he would simply point you to the story of Abraham as found in the pages of Genesis
So, now, Paul wants to flush this out a little – He wants to communicate to his audience how this all came about – Why is it that all are guilty before God? And why is it that Jesus is the only way to be saved?
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 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.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What I want us to consider tonight is this
What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?
If we are all guilty then we need to know why, and if we have salvation in Jesus we need to know why as well
This is what Paul does in this passage
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. Romans 5:12
Well, before I get into this, I would like to ask, “Who is the one responsible for sin in the world?”
Yes, It’s Adam – Now, the next question is, “How is Adam’s sin responsible for the sin of the world?”
This is a harder question, isn’t it?
So, we know the “Who” but we don’t really know the “How”
In other words, “How is it that Adam’s sin affects me, that I become a sinner like him?”
Well, there are two views on this, and they both come from this verse, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” Romans 5:12
Now this may get a little academic but I think its important for us Christians to know these things – So, when people ask us about original sin we can tell them – When they ask, “How did sin enter the world? We can tell them
It’s also important because the whole world is asking this question – It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an Atheist, everyone wants to know how sin entered the world – Where evil comes from – And whether they call it sin or something else, that doesn’t matter – What matters is that it is here and it destroys
The first view is called the Federal Headship view
In this view Adam is the representative for the entire human race – What Adam decided to do affects all of us, even though we were not there, even though we did not participate in it.
We may object to what Adam does, and if we were there we would never do as he did – But according to this view, this doesn’t matter, Adam is the “Head,” and we are not – So, what Adam does affects us, whether we like it or not
So, according to this view, we became sinners because Adam became a sinner
His actions affected us, even though we didn’t do anything
And you may be thinking, “Hey! That’s not fair, I didn’t vote for Adam!”
Well, according to this view, that doesn’t matter – Adam is still the “Head”
The second view is called the Natural (Seminal) Headship view
In this view Adam is not so much our representative as he is the first of many that would come after him – Adam is the first person of the human race, and we all come from him
So, this view says that when Adam sinned, we sinned too, because we were in Adam
And your thinking, “What? I wasn’t even there!”
Well, the logic is that even though we were not there in a physical body, we were there physically in “seminal” form – We were there in seed form in Adam
And if the entire human race comes from one man (which it does) that means we were all there with Adam (in seed form), we just did not have physical bodies yet
So, when Adam sinned, we sinned with him – This view says that we did participate in the first sin
And your thinking, “That’s kinda weird!”
Well, before you throw this view out, let me just say that there is biblical evidence for it, let’s read Romans 5:12 again, “12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” Romans 5:12
The last three words say, “because all sinned” – It’s written in the past tense, and its referring to us while at the same time referring to Adam
So, Paul is telling us that when Adam sinned, we sinned as well – It was one act – When Adam disobeyed God, we too were disobeying God (we did it together, all of us) – In this view we are not just passive observers but are participants in Adam’s sin
Another verse that could be quoted to support this is Hebrews 7:9-10, “9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” Hebrews 7:9-10
So, according to the Natural (Seminal) view we all disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, it wasn’t just Adam, it was me, it was you
And because we sin, it just proves that we became sinners like Adam when Adam became a sinner
Well, whatever view you take, the fact of the matter is, we are all sinners
We sin because we are sinners, and we are sinners because we sin – This is who we are
We may never know the “How” question, but without a doubt what we do know is that we are sinners
What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?
Well, let’s find out
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. Romans 5:12-14
What happens to 100% of the human race – What is it that we all have in common?
We die – Everyone dies, no matter who you are, where you live, how rich you are, how poor you are – We all die
Some of us will live longer than others, but eventually we all end up at the same place – We all end up in the ground
What Paul is saying here is that death is a result of sin – We all die, because we all sin – Sin is the primary cause of death
It’s not because we get old and our bodies wear down – It’s not because we live in a chaotic random world where freak accidents happen – It’s not even because there are diseases that kill our bodies – It’s because of sin
Yes, these things all happen, but the Bible teaches that they are a result of sin – If it weren’t for sin, they would not exist!
What did God say to Adam when He put him in the garden?
16 “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
God is not only talking about spiritual death here, He is talking about physical death as well
And we know from the narrative that both of these happen – Adam and Eve die spiritually, and then they die physically
Their spiritual death was instantaneous – It happened the moment they disobeyed, but the physical death took some time to mature (like it does in all of us)
Adam and Eve died, Abel died, Cain died, Abraham died, Moses died…
We all die because we are all sinners; we are all sinners because we all die
And so we can say that if it weren’t for sin, we would not die, we would live forever – We would never die
You see, this is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important
Because Jesus is the only man who never sinned, this is why death had no power over Him – This is how He conquered death – This is how He was raised from the dead
You might say, “But Jesus did die, and if death is a result of sin, then Jesus must have sinned”
No, what did Jesus say before he died?
In John 10:17 He says, 17 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, [not even sin] but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18
Jesus’ death is the only death that was not a result of sin, He laid it down of his “own accord” – He gave His life, so that those that don’t have life can have His
You see, if death is the result of sin, and Jesus did not sin, then death had no hold on Him – But the gospel message is that He laid down His life anyway – He laid it down for us – He died for us
And because He did this great act, He is able to rise from the dead and give us life in Him
Listen to what Jesus says to Martha, as she grieves the death of her brother Lazarus, 25 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
Here, the people are mourning the death of their friend Lazarus, the fact that sin has taken another person – But Jesus, wanting to demonstrate His power over death does His greatest miracle – One that will point to Him as well – He raises Lazarus from the dead!
And this is what Paul is telling us, he’s saying that there are only two kinds of people – There are those that belong to Adam, and there are those that belong to Christ
Unfortunately, even though we belong to Christ we still die, but this is only sin running its course – If we belong to Christ we “will never die” as Jesus says
We will be resurrected as He was resurrected!
We will live as He lives
What an awesome thought!
Paul says in 1Corinthians 15:21-22, “21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1Corinthians 15:21-22
What a great hope that we have! That even in death we will live once again – Death ultimately has no hold on us, just like it had no hold on Jesus
But Paul is saying that this is only for those that put their faith in Christ – This is only for those that have died to their own self already and are living for Jesus now! – That even though they die, they will live again!
In John 6 Jesus says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” John 6:40
What a wonderful hope that we have – To know that this life is not the end – To know that even though death reigns in this world, we do not belong to this world – To know that even though we die, we will not stay that way, but will be like (As Jesus says) “The angels in heaven” Matt. 22:30