Summary: The entrance of sin, and the wages of sin, compared and contrasted with the free gift of Jesus Christ

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Romans 5:12-21


We are told in the book of Genesis that when God created the world “it was all very good” (Genesis 1:31). Yet the world as we know it is full of moral evil, as quoted by Paul in Romans 3:10-18. How did such a situation come about?

In Romans 5:12, Paul tells us that sin came into the world through one man. That man was our first father, Adam, the representative head of the human race and ancestor of us all. This is the teaching of the Bible, and needless to say the Apostle held such teaching to be true. On the basis of this doctrine Paul rests his whole argument in the verses we are now studying, where he compares and contrasts Adam and Christ.

Within families it is the father who is held responsible for what happens. If the family is at fault, ultimately the father must shoulder the responsibility. However, the consequences of such fault or sin are shared by the whole family.

An example of this Biblical principle is seen in the case of one man called Achan in Joshua 7. The name Achan means Trouble, and this man brought trouble on the Israelites by stealing from the spoils of Jericho, which had been dedicated to the LORD. It was only after he and his whole family (!) had been executed that Israel was able to continue in their course of victory.

The significance of this incident was not lost on the children of Israel (Joshua 22:20). On the other hand, Joshua spoke for his whole family when he made his famous declaration of faith (Joshua 24:15).

However, this principle is older than the family of Israel. It dates back to Adam, our first father, as demonstrated in Romans 5:12: “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men.”

Adam was accountable for the eating of the forbidden fruit, and we all also suffer the consequences of that first sin, just as surely as if it had been ours. The result of one man’s offence was condemnation for all men, and one man’s disobedience made many sinners (Romans 5:18-19).

There is a little rhyming couplet that says:

“In Adam’s fall

We sinned all.”

We cannot understand this working of God’s justice, but who are we to question God?


Paul tells us in Romans 5:12, “Sin came into the world, and death through sin.” Later he adds, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

This was just what Adam had been told by God (Genesis 2:16-17). When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit he died a spiritual death, and became liable to physical death.

(i) Adam forfeited a life of fellowship with God.

(ii) God’s anger turned against His beautiful Creation, and He cursed the ground (Genesis 3:17).

(iii) Death entered the world.

“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). In Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22).

(iv) Man became inclined to all kinds of evil.

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