Summary: Adam and Eve's choice to disobey God has influenced all their descendants.
A. Do you ever think about how your sinful actions or attitudes affect others?
B. Actions always have consequences and sinful actions do as well.
I. Sin and the Law (13-14)
A. Consider the question: Is it possible to break a law even when there is no law against what you have done?
1. Suppose I live in a country that has no law against stealing.
2. Have I broken a law if I steal?
3. If we believe God has ordained moral laws, then the answer is yes.
4. In building his case for responsibility to God and in favor of the sinfulness of humanity, Paul says sin did not arrive after the giving of the law to Moses or when people broke that law.
5. Sin arrived long before the giving of the law. It was started when Satan rebelled against God. It was then perpetrated in the human race through his temptations and as Adam and Eve gave into them. Their acquired sinful nature was in turn passed to all their descendants.
6. The commandment against murder had not been given when Cain killed his brother Abel, but it was still a sin and one God charged him with.
B. The law has nothing to do with salvation-the loss or gaining of it.
1. Obedience to the law does not issue in salvation as some of the Jews supposed.
2. Disobedience to the law does not lead to death.
3. Sin is the base line problem. It brings death, and the only way to escape its consequences is by forgiveness and God’s grace.
4. Physical death (what some believe to be one consequence of sin) took place long before the law was given.
C. What was the purpose of the law?
1. It was not to lead to salvation or to take away the experience of death.
2. Paul will explain in verse 20 that it was given to show what God’s standard was, and by comparison, to show humanity how far they missed the mark.
3. The law was also designed to drive those now aware of their sinfulness to God for mercy and pardon.
4. The law also reminds us we are responsible for our sinful actions.
5. The disadvantage of the law is that it offers no remedy for our problem. With that in mind, it was designed to drive us to Christ.
II. Adam And Christ’s Contributions (vv. 14-19)
A. Adam’s contributions are somewhat negative.
1. Paul seems to place all the blame on Adam, but when we read the temptation account, we see Eve was actually deceived by the tempter.
2. As mentioned previously, the race was considered in Adam, so Paul uses him when contrasting his actions and their results with those of Christ’s.
3. As you will remember, Adam entered into the sin willfully while Eve was deceived.
4. Adam brought death by his sin (this death was certainly spiritual even though scholars disagree over whether physical death was also a consequence of his sin).
5. This death was not only for him and his wife but extended to their children and all their descendants.
6. Not only was their spiritual death but there was also condemnation for the sin that brought death.
7. Since God cannot look on or accept sinful people, and since sin is an affront to his law, it must be punished, and it places us under a sentence of condemnation.
8. Death and condemnation rule over us like the most despicable despot we could imagine. We cannot escape it, and in our fallen state there is no hope.
9. Adam’s sin meant all who were born from him were sinners also.
B. Christ’s contributions are all positive
1. There is a significant contrast between the work of Adam and Christ.
2. The gift of Adam was a sinful nature, but the gift of Christ involves the opportunity to have all our sins forgiven and the relationship destroyed by Adam and Eve restored.
3. When Paul says Adam’s decision brought death to many, this is not to be taken to mean that some escaped death. Many is a general reference signifying that the number of people affected was great. In fact, all were.
4. In like manner, Jesus’ gift of himself on Calvary brought forgiveness to many. The contrast somewhat breaks down at this point. No one escapes the consequences of Adam’s sin. All have received a sinful nature. Believing some have escaped leaves open the possibility of not needing Christ’s forgiveness.
5. On the other hand, all are not automatically forgiven simply because Christ died on the cross. Yet the atonement was sufficient to save all and will affect the salvation of all who turn to Christ for forgiveness.
6. Thus, all have been infected through Adam’s decision and all who ask will be affected by Christ’s work on Calvary.