Summary: Paul reminds us of the human condition when he describes the legacies left to us by Adam, the Law, and Jesus the Christ.

TEXT: ROMANS 5:12-21


INTRODUCTION: A. Two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day.

One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend

asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?"

The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, my uncle

died and left me forty thousand dollars."

"That’s a lot of money."

"And, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and

left me eighty-five thousand dollars."

"Sounds like you’ve been blessed...."

"You don’t understand!" he interrupted. "Last week my great-aunt

passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million."

Now the friend was really confused. "Then, why do you look so


"This week... nothing!"

B. Our Scripture this morning deals with inheritances – or legacies – left

for us to receive.

1. One of Webster’s definitions: “anything handed down as from an


2. Paul talks about the legacies we receive from two people and an


C. Paul uses Adam and Jesus to teach us some very important lessons.

1. The issue in this passage is that only two perfect men have ever

existed: Adam and Jesus

2. Adam was created perfect but by the exercise of his free will sinned

3. Jesus existed in perfection, was born in perfection, and died in


4. Each one has impacted the human race greatly in very different but

related ways.


A. Adam was a man of sin.

1. He decided that he would willfully disobey God’s command

2. The Garden of Eden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

3. Adam was created good. He became evil when he disobeyed.

--Only then did he know the difference

B. Because of Adam’s sin, all of creation was affected

1. When Adam fell, all of creation fell.

2. Before Adam’s sin, the world was a perfect place to live.

3. After Adam’s sin, the world became a fallen place to live.

C. Because of Adam’s sin, God imposed condemnation and consequences

1. Earning our living by the sweat of our brow

2. Instead of being able to partake of the tree of life, we know face physical and spiritual


D. Because Adam is our ancestor, sin has been passed to all of us.

1. Just as we receive the tendency for the color of our eyes, the color of our hair, our

height, our build, and other physical attributes from our ancestors, so we receive the

tendency for sin from our ancestor Adam.

2. We are “born to be wild”

--unruly, disobedient, prideful, and cantankerous

3. Because Adam was disobedient, the propensity to sin is passed on to us.

4. You see, once sin entered into the world, it was like a virus that spread.

-- Read recently about an entire national forest in Oregon that has been infected by a

fungus (The Daily News [8/5/00], from This fungus started as

a single microscopic spore, but it’s been weaving its way through this forest for about

2,400 years, killing tress as it grows.

Today this fungus has infected 2,200 acres of this national forest. Essentially the

fungus is a gigantic mushroom you can’t see from the ground, but it’s killed hundreds

of thousands of tress, all from a single spore. That’s similar to how Adam’s sin

opened the door for sin and death to spread like a fungus through the entire human



A. Paul touches on something here that he explains in fuller detail in Chapter 7 of Romans.

--the purpose and role of the law (which the Jews would have said, “What about the …?”

1. The phrase "came in" is a Greek theater term that describes the Law coming onto the

stage as a minor actor to enhance the scene.

2. Law does not remedy the sin problem. It aggravates it

--The tighter we make our laws, the more we look for loopholes.

B. The Law was never intended to provide salvation but to convince people of their need

for it.

1. God’s law shows us how sinful we really are.

2. The law is like a magnifying glass. A magnifying glass doe not increase the number

of dirty spots, but it does make them stand out more clearly and brings to light some

that the naked eye cannot see.


A. Where Adam sinned, Jesus lived a perfect life.

--Heb. 4:15 tells us that He was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without


B. Where Adam brought condemnation, Jesus brought justification.

1. II Corinthians 5:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we

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