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The First Adam

Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
–Romans 5:12

In Romans 5:12-21, Paul’s message was this: Just as Adam’s disobedience brought condemnation to everyone, Christ’s obedience to God brought salvation for some.

Paul started by describing the first Adam. “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (5:12). This verse answers two perplexing questions. First, why do we sin? And second, why do we die?

Let’s look at that first question: why do we sin? You say, “We sin because we choose to sin. Just as Adam chose to sin in the garden, you and I choose to sin every day. It is because of our own free will that we choose to sin.” But think about that for a minute. Does it really make sense that we sin because we choose to sin? I mean, out of the billions of people who have ever lived, don’t you think there would be at least one or two people other than Jesus Christ who would choose not to sin if sin were simply a matter of choice?

The second question Paul answered in Romans 5 is this: why do we die? The naturalist will say, “Death is a part of life. Things are born, they grow, and they die.” But there is something inside of us that tells us that death is not natural. Paul gave an explanation for why we sin and why we die. Not only did he give an explanation, but he also had a solution to sin and death.

Paul connected our sin back to Adam’s sin. Look at verse 12: “Through one man sin entered into the world.” Paul said the reason for sin and death can be traced back to the first man, Adam, in the garden. God told Adam and Eve they could eat of any tree in the garden except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told them to stay away from that tree, but every other tree was theirs. What did Adam and Eve do? They made a beeline to that one forbidden tree.

What was the consequence of Adam’s sin? In a single word: death. Their sin resulted in death to Adam and Eve, first of all. God had said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “In the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” But the consequence was not just death to Adam and Eve. Adam’s sin also resulted in death for all mankind, including you and me. Romans 5:12 continues, “Death [entered] through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

When Adam sinned, you and I were held accountable for Adam’s sin. That means we not only inherited the virus of sin–the inclination to sin–but we also inherited Adam’s guilt. Death spread to us because of what Adam did in the garden.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “One for All” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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