Summary: The cross of Christ can cure the condemnation of Adam’s choice. Through Jesus Christ we have received abundant grace and gift of righteousness. This grace does not give us license to sin, but grants us the freedom to live and grow in Godliness.
Opening illustration: On November 24, 1971, a man known today as D. B. Cooper hijacked a commercial flight between Portland and Seattle by threatening to blow up the plane unless he received $200,000. After landing to receive a ransom, he ordered the plane back into the air. Then the rear stairs of the 727 aircraft were lowered, and he parachuted into the night. He was never captured, and the case is still unsolved. This act hastened the age of airport security in which trust and confidence have been replaced by suspicion and fear. What he did affected us all.
The Bible describes two actions that changed the world in a far more significant way. Through Adam’s choice, sin and death entered the world, “and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). But through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, God provided a remedy for the results of sin. “Through one man’s [Adam’s] offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s [Christ’s] righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (v.18).
This morning we shall turn to Romans 5 and see the parallels between the first Adam and the second Adam. We will dwell upon the actions of Adam and the consequences we face as well as what Christ has done to cancel those actions so that we are saved, redeemed, forgiven and have eternity with Him.
Introduction: I have often been asked, "If God is a God of love, and how could He send anyone to hell?" But the more appropriate question is this: If God is a God of perfect holiness, how could He send anyone to heaven? How can a holy and just God arbitrarily overlook sin? How could a loving God not forgive sin? Immutable holiness and unconditional love collide. The greatness of God was displayed, not in the fact that He forgave our sins, but in precisely the way He forgave them—He sent His Son as a perfect sacrifice for us. His love was displayed, and His justice was satisfied.
Adam sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and so came to his children. Thus in him all have sinned. And death is by sin; for death is the wages of sin. Then entered all that misery which is the due desert of sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal death. If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape. Through one man’s offence, all mankind are exposed to eternal condemnation. But the grace and mercy of God, and the free gift of righteousness and salvation, are through Jesus Christ, as man: yet the Lord from heaven has brought the multitude of believers into a safer and exalted state than that from which they fell in Adam. As by the offence of one, sin and death prevailed to the condemnation of all men, so by the righteousness of one, grace prevailed to the justification of all related to Christ by faith. Through the grace of God, the gift by grace has abounded to many through Christ; yet multitudes choose to remain under the dominion of sin and death, rather than to apply for the blessings of the reign of grace. But Christ will in nowise cast out any who are willing to come to him.
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3: 25-26)
What actions changed the results in our world?
(a) Action: Sin Result: Death (v. 12)
How can we be declared guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago? Many feel it isn’t right for God to judge us because of Adam’s sin. Yet each of us confirms our solidarity with Adam by our own sins each day. We are made of the same stuff and we are prone to rebel, and we are judged for our sins we commit. The human race was involved in something that had no escape except through Christ laying down His life. And because we are sinners, it isn’t fairness we need – its mercy!
Paul does not therefore properly make a digression, but returns to speak again of sin and of righteousness. As by one man - Adam; who is mentioned, and not Eve, as being the representative of mankind. Sin entered into the world - Actual sin, and its consequence, a sinful nature. And death came into this world as a consequence of sin. It entered into the world when it entered into being; for till then it did not exist. By sin - Therefore it could not enter before sin. Even so - Namely, by one man. All sinned - In Adam. These words assign the reason why death came upon all men; infants themselves not excepted, in that all sinned. Even though it was a personal sin, the consequences were corporate. Biblically, sin and death are integrally connected.