Summary: This is a sermon from the perspective of "The Exchanged Life" which seeks to communicate the difference Adam’s choice has made in our lives.
One of actor Jimmy Stewart’s most famous films is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In that motion picture, Stewart plays a despairing young banker who comes to a point in his life when he thinks he’d be better off dead. So, through the remainder of the movie, an angel shows him what the world would be like if he did indeed leave the scene.
You know, in a sense the lives of most people are like that of the Jimmy Stewart character. While they’re living and breathing physically, a vital part of them – the spirit – is dead. In fact, it was dead on arrival when you entered this world because of the choice made by Adam. Even if you’re not a Christian you, too, were a spiritual stillbirth. You were born dead. You also inherited this condition from Adam.
This is the difference Adam’s made in all of our lives. And this morning what I want to do is to look more deeply at the disastrous change that took place in Adam’s life and consequently in our lives as a result of his having rejected God’s authority over his life in the Garden of Eden. So first of all let’s look at:
I. The Spiritual Death of Adam and Us v.12b
Adam produced a bunch of descendants, one of whom was you. But what would have happened to you if your grandfather had died before his wife ever had your father? You would have died in your grandfather’s gene pool and never showed up on planet earth, right? Well, that obviously didn’t happen, but Romans 5:12 says that in some way it did happen to you “in Adam.” Somehow, when that first man died, ALL men died. How? What part of you died before you ever showed up on earth? What difference did Adam make in your life?
Well, let’s look back to that garden scene. You see, you too, were there, in Adam’s loins. You were potentially there as an offspring of Adam. So there, the Lord and Adam fellowshipped with one another regularly because Adam was created with an innocent spirit that made him alive to God. One day God said, “Adam, you may do anything in this garden you wish except one thing. You may not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
You see, God gave Adam a choice. He could either let God be his God, determining what is right and wrong for Adam or he could stake his claim, carve out his own little kingdom, and declare himself “Lord of the Ring,” as Bill Gillham says. Adam decided he would determine what he thought was right and wrong. He didn’t need God’s opinion. Then God said, “The very day you eat from that tree, you will die.” Now, he didn’t say Adam would die hundred’s of years later. He said he would die immediately. God wasn’t implying a physical death by the end of the day, because if He had, we would’ve died physically “in Adam” and none of us would have ever been born.
Well then, did Adam and Eve die “soulically”? Did their personalities die? No, in that case they would have become robots who could not think, feel, or choose. So, we’ve ruled out all but one part of man, his spirit. Their spirits died that day. The part of Adam and Eve that made them alive to God died and after sundown they could no longer fellowship with God. They then began to produce spiritually dead offspring whose normal, natural state was to be dead to God and by nature to rebel against God’s authority in their lives, claiming their “right to live their own lives.” They became the first “Lord’s of the Ring” and that’s the difference they made in our lives. But there’s more! Not only did they bring Spiritual Death but:
II. The Power of Sin came into Adam and us
Romans 5:12 says that simultaneous with spiritual death and man’s rebellion against God’s right to authority over him, something called “sin” entered into the world. Now, sin doesn’t refer to just one sinful act, but rather to a power called sin that entered into man’s experience. This comes from the fact that the word for sin, “hamartia” found 41 times in Romans 5-8, is used as a noun 40 of those times. So that makes it a person, place or thing – an entity of some sort.
Now, I don’t claim to understand exactly what this is other than to say what the Word of God says. Romans 7:21 records that it is an “evil . . . present in me”, a “different law in . . . my body” v.23. Terms such as “the power of sin,” “the law of sin,” “the principle of sin,” or simply “sin” are synonyms. These speak of the same essence or entity. A quick look at Romans 7 will demonstrate that “sin” often refers to an evil power against which the Christian battles.