Summary: Many people would have us believe that man is basically good at heart. Few people seem to understand the power of sin, yet all try to escape its consequences. Paul teaches us an important truth that through the sin of Adam death passed to everyone’s human
1. What do you suppose Paul meant when he wrote, “Death reigned from the time of Adam…even over those who did not sin.” (vs.14) Many people would have us believe that man is basically good at heart. Few people seem to understand the power of sin, yet all try to escape its consequences.
Paul teaches us an important truth that through the sin of Adam death passed to everyone’s human nature. Every human heart is polluted with evil desires that are impossible to overcome without the goodness of Christ living within us. There is a constant inner sense of condemnation in the heart of everyone as a result of inheriting the sin of Adam. Whether people realize it or not, they are hopelessly estranged, hostile and facing the wrath of God until they find forgiveness through Christ.
We are all born into sin and are helpless to escape its consequences without Christ. Is it little wonder why most of the world lives in misery and uncertainty? Adam’s sin came before the introduction of the law, but it led to a spontaneous working of a corrupt nature in the heart of every human being. God told Jeremiah,
“The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) Since the sin of Adam was imputed to all so the condemnation is also imputed to every person. “All have sinned.” (vs 12)
We all have to bear the brand of Adam’s punishment – alienation, condemnation and death. Deliverance and life can be found only through God’s justification by asking Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. (Rom. 10:9,10)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you clearly teach others out how death works in all human nature through Adam’s sin, but life through our new nature in Christ.
2. Paul teaches that sin is manifested in many ways that are all regarded as rebellion against God and His standards.
First, sin is transgression against God’s holy attributes. When we fail to live up to the Holy characteristics of God we are falling short of His glory.
Second, sin involves going across the line of God’s moral, Biblical and Holy standards. When we cross an intersection when the light is red, we have transgressed against the law.
Third, sin involves resistance to the will of God and failure to submit to His authority. Rebels fail to cast their allegiance to the eternal authority in both conscious and unconscious ways.
Fourth, sin is neglecting to do what we ought to do. James wrote, “If anyone knows the right thing to do, but fails to do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) Failure to do what is expected of us makes us just as guilty as the worst possible criminal in the eyes of God.
Fifth, sin is seen in people with a wrong attitude. Paul wrote, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… who humbled himself and became obedient to death.” (Phil. 2:4-8)
The sins of disposition make one just as guilty as those who commit a crime.
Sixth, sin is witnessed in those who have faulty assumptions. Paul wrote, “God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts and motives).” (Rom. 2:16) Do not think that God allows faulty motivations to go unpunished. God will judge us according to the motives of every man’s heart. (Rom 14)
Application: Trust the Lord to bring conviction to people through all the manifestations of sin and their need for a Savior and Lord.
3. Paul knew that sin creates pain, unhappiness and strife. The great apostle taught the Romans that sin destroys everything unless Christ is given the opportunity to work His life in a person. Sin causes death but Christ gives a person His resurrected power. Continuous sorrow, despair and regret are the consequences of those who choose to remain in sin. Isaiah wrote, “The wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet and its waters toss up refuse and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.” (Isa. 57:20,21) Sin leaves a person at enmity with God. (Jude 15)
Only when people are willing to admit and repent of their sins are they able to be saved from the horrible consequences of sin. (Luke 5:32)
Illustration: If we give a pig a bath, spray perfume on him and make him a movie star, he is still a pig. Given time, the pig will go back to the mud hole because his nature has not changed. Only Christ is able to give a person a new spiritual nature.
Why not choose to be liberated from the awful penalty of sin? Simply pray, “Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.” If you received Christ into your life you can know that you now have eternal life. (I John 5:11-13)