When Adam sinned, we all sinned. When he fell from grace in the Garden of Eden, we all fell. When Adam disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the world, he represented us, his natural descendants. From Adam, we all inherit a sin nature; from the first man we get our selfish bents and disobedient postures towards God and others. Young children do not have to be taught to say, “No” and refuse to do what their parents and other caregivers tell them – that response comes naturally to them because of their fallen states. When they sin, they are simply acting out from the corrupted natures already within them.
This sad truth of humanity’s universal fallenness is why all people since Adam have been born with a death sentence hanging over their heads. God’s just punishment for Adam’s choice to eat the forbidden fruit was that he would die spiritually immediately and then die physically later after growing old and weak. We inherit that same fate. We are born separated from God, spiritually dead because of our sin nature. And one day, every one of us will face physical death, too, just like Adam, followed by God’s judgment of the life we have lived on this earth.
This somber reality is explained for us today in Romans 5:12-14. Good news is coming in the next passage and post. But before the blessed hope of eternal life with Jesus can mean something to us, we must first come to grips with the awful burden of sin and death that Adam’s fall brought into our world and lives (Romans 5:12). Even in the time before God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, all people everywhere were guilty of sinning against the laws of God written on the conscience of their hearts (Romans 2:15) and so justly died as the penalty for their acts (Romans 5:13-14). So we even more so, who have sinned against both our consciences and the commandments of God that have been taught us in His Word, are deserving of death and hell. In Adam we all die. Have you ever dealt with that great truth? If not, I pray God’s Holy Spirit will work in your heart to show you your need for the Jesus we will find in Romans 5:15-21.
The Text (Romans 5:12-14)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Questions to Think About
- Do you think it is fair for us to die for the sin that Adam committed? Why or why not?
- When do you first remember disobeying your parents or doing something else wrong? Did anyone have to teach you to sin?
- If you could live forever in this present world, would you want to? Why or why not?