Summary: Death through Adam, life through Christ

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Romans 5:12-21

John Shearhart

July 25, 2010


We’ve spent a lot of time talking about righteousness and sin. As far as man is concerned there’s not even a hope of righteousness from within because “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.” It’s not just that we aren’t righteous, but we’re completely evil. Our throats are called open graves, our mouths are full of lies, poison, cursing, and bitterness. We’re eager to sin, and we don’t fear God (3:10-18).

The only reason we have any hope at all is because of the righteousness of God which was demonstrated at the cross and which provided the way for grace (Rom. 3:21-26).

There’s no room for men to boast because we haven’t done anything. Either we’re utterly depraved or we wear the righteousness of God.

If we wear His righteousness, we have peace with Him and we enjoy all the other blessings we talked about last week (5:1-11).

Now, as we continue in chapter five, we come to see another side of our salvation. We’re not just guilty of sin, we are sinners. We were born that way because we’re sons of Adam; you might say it’s in our DNA.

So, there’s a comparison and a contrast in Romans five: the sons of Adam are born sinners through physical birth, and the sons of God are born righteous through spiritual birth.

This is an important doctrine to understand because by it we see that the issue isn’t about just our personal sin—we were born that way. When Adam sinned, he served as a representative for us all. His one sin ruined every man’s standing before God.

However, Christ’s one act of obedience restored many despite countless sins!

Sin and salvation are issues far greater than just what we have or haven’t done, but they each come down to only two beings…

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

1. Adam’s one sin introduced death into the world and it condemned all men (:12-14)

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

He starts out with the word “therefore.” It’s hard to tell exactly what this word ties together, but it looks like he’s saying, “We’ve been reconciled to God” (5:10-11), therefore, we have “eternal life through Christ Jesus” (5:21).

Everything in the middle (:12-21) describes why and how. Why were we separated from God? How were we reconciled?

Look what he says: sin spread to all men so that death reigned over us all. Even the people who lived before the Law was given to Moses had to face the consequence of sin. Sin hadn’t been “imputed” to them; that is, they weren’t charged with personal sin because the Law didn’t yet exist. They weren’t guilty of a willful violation of a direct command as Adam was; “nevertheless” they died anyway.

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