Summary: Adam’s sin had a terrible effect on mankind. Romans even says that his sin made us sinners. What does that mean?

OPEN: In the 14th century, in the land we now call Belgium, there was a duke by the name of Raynald III.. Raynald was grossly overweight and was commonly called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means "Fat."

Now, it seems that Raynald had a violent quarrel with his younger brother Edward and Edward was so angry he led a successful revolt against him. But Edward did not kill Raynald. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk castle and he promised his brother he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight.

But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter. When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: "My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills."

Raynald stayed in that room for 10 years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined that he died within a year... a prisoner to his own appetite. (Thomas Costain’s history, "The Three Edwards," cited in Leadership, Spring 84, p. 44)

APPLY: Raynald III was a prisoner.

It’s what he ate that imprisoned him.

And though he could have left his prison whenever he wished, the actions of another… and his own weakness kept him imprisoned.

Romans 5 tells us that mankind has been imprisoned as well.

And just as Raynald was imprisoned by the actions of his relative… so have we.

We have been imprisoned by the actions of a relative named Adam.

Romans 5:12 tells us “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Ever since the dawn of time, the wall of death has hemmed us in - it has been our prison.

One wit once observed: “I am not afraid to die. It’s just that I can’t get up much enthusiasm for it.”

But in reality, as Hebrews 2:15 tells us, “all their lives (mankind has been) held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Illus: Back in the 70’s a rock star named Randy Newman was being interviewed by a major magazine : “I think religion is a tremendously powerful force. How else is someone going to face the horror of everything ending?”

The reporter, knowing Newman to be an atheist, shot back: “So how do you face it?”

Newman replied: “I don’t. I joke around…”

Several studies have revealed that one of the major fears most people have is of death. Not only can people NOT get up much enthusiasm for it… they fear it.

And if Adam had not sinned… we wouldn’t have to worry about death.

It’s what Adam ate that has imprisoned us.

But, there’s something else, Adam’s sin did to us.

In Romans 5:19 we’re told “…through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners...”

Now, this is where things get a little sticky.

Entire theologies have popped up around the words of this verse.

A great number of Catholic doctrines hinge on this statement.

And the doctrines of numerous other kinds of churches lean heavily on this text.

Adam’s sin made us sinners.

You could say we inherited the sin of Adam.

I sin (and you sin) because Adam messed up back in the garden.

It’s a repeated theme in Scripture, that we are sinners

Solomon declared "… there is no one who does not sin” 1 Kings 8:46

David said: If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? Psalms 130:3

Isaiah 53:6 states: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way...”

Proverbs 20:9 asks “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?”

And John answers: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Romans 3:23 sums it up by saying: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

This is such a dominant doctrine in Scripture that it’s hard to deny.

But when a lot of Christians hear the words “we inherited the sin of Adam” they become highly uneasy. Those literally become fighting words for some believers.


Well, it all stems back to a man named Augustine (one of the predominant early theologians of the Catholic Church). Augustine took this verse – this idea that thru Adam we were made sinners - and he carried it to what he considered a logical conclusion.

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