Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on January 14, 2018
Let us begin this morning with our January Memory Verse, Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This morning, we are going to continue to unpack this glorious love of God and its benefits as we continue to walk through Romans 5. Today we will be studying Romans 5:12-21. Let us all stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word.
This morning we will be unpacking massive, fundamental truths about human existence. There comes a point in all child's life when they ask their parents, why do people die. And it is a fair question, for death is sometimes immediately thrown at the feet of children.
On Average 55 million people die each year. That equates to 151,600 people every day; which equates to 6,316 people dyeing every hour; which equates to 105 people dyeing every minute; which equates to a little less than two people dying every single second. Of course with each death comes the issue of their burial. There was an news story put out by the BBC in 2015 regarding the increasing problem that large cities are having with finding places to bury people. Too many people are dying that there is not enough ground to put them in. As I have said in the past, planet earth could easily be described as one large cemetery.
And burial space is not the only issue we have when it comes to death. Whether you realize it or not, your life operates in the shadow of death. The looming risk of death follows you wherever you go. In fact, your life could be described as your battle against your greatest foe, death. Americans are perhaps more consumed by avoiding death than any other people who have ever lived. We count our calories, we take our vitamins, we go to the gym, we have regular medical checkups, we purchase cars with airbags that will pop out in every direction. The list could go on an on. As it says in our text today, death truly reigns in our lives.
Now what is interesting is when children ask the question, why do people die, it points to a greater reality. And that reality is that death feels wrong. When the simple mind of a child ponders the concept of death, it doesn’t add up to them; they have this sense that something is not right.
And to be honest, it is not just children. We all feel it. As natural and as regular as death is, it always feels wrong. There is something intrinsic in us that reject death, despite it being every man’s destiny. Why is this? The answer is because mankind was originally made to live, not die. So let us now look at our text.
The Origin of Sin
Look at verse 12. There we are told, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” What is Paul talking about? First let us answer the question, who is the “one man” Paul is referring to? As we can see in verse 14, this one man is Adam, the very first man to ever exist. In fact, the word for man in Hebrew is Adam. In our English translation, some times it is translated to Adam and sometimes it is translated “the man.”
Now, we should first acknowledge something very important here. And that is the Apostle Paul believed that Adam was a real life person. A person who historically existed in the very beginning. I say this is important because there are some people who want to argue that Adam, as describe in Genesis 2, 3, 4 and 5 is not a real person but is symbolic. Well if that is so, someone forgot to tell the Apostle Paul when he wrote Romans 5 because his entire argument in verse 12-21 is built upon the foundation that Adam is a historical person and Jesus is a historical person.
And if Adam is symbolic and not a real person, than not only did someone forget to tell Paul but they forgot to tell the Ezra, Hosea, Luke, and Jude, for each of them refer to Adam as a historical figure in their inspired writings. And if that isn’t enough, someone forgot to tell Jesus, for Jesus says in Matthew 19:4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” Therefore, if you take the position that Adam and Eve are not real people than you entire view of the Scriptures starts to come unraveled.
We are told that sin came into the world through Adam. What does this mean? To start, it means that sin did not originate in the world. That sin existed outside of the world before it came into the world. Which leads to the question if sin did not originate with Adam, where did it originate? To answer that question we can look to a couple of passages.
First let us consider John 8:44. Here Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” When Jesus describes the devil as the Father of lies he is giving the devil credit for its origin. We do this all the time when we call someone the Father of Modern Medicine, or the Father of Astrophysics. When we say these people are the father of something we are crediting them with playing the foundational role in its beginning. Therefore, when we see Jesus say that the Devil is the Father of Lies, he is saying that he played the foundation role in its existence.
Another interesting text regarding this question is found in Ezekiel 28:13-15. If you would like to turn to this text, it can be found on page 850 in the Church Bible. Now this text is contextually regarding the King of Tyre, but as sometimes Scripture does, it looks past the person and speaks about the dominion behind the person. Listen to what it says starting in verse 13, “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.”
Who does this sound like God is describing? Satan. Satan was a beautiful guardian cherub, created by God, perfect in every way, until unrighteousness was found in him.
Another text that many people turn to as well is Isaiah 14:12-14. If you would like to turn there, it is found on page 686 of he Church Bible. This is God’s Word against the great nation of Babylon, yet once again, it seems to look past Babylon to the principality and spiritual dominion behind Babylon “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Once again, who does this sound like? It sounds like God is describing Satan. So if we pull all of this together, it appears that Satan was originally a created being of God, a guardian cherub, and he was perfect in every way, but as he looked upon the glory of God, he wanted more, and inside of the soul of this beautiful creature sin was born. And upon the presence of unrighteousness that was found within Satan he was cast out of Heaven and thrown to the ground. Satan the Father of lies now walked upon the Earth.
The Arrival of Sin
Which brings us to Genesis 3. Please turn there with me, so we can see how the events unfold.
But all of that changes when the villain of the story arrives, Satan and his demons. Satan, who is consumed by his lust for power goes on the offensive in the world that God had created. He is seeking a Kingdom of his own. He knows who Adam is and he knows God plan for Adam to be the father of all living, so what does he do? He attacks. And how does he attack? By twisting God's Word and lying, for remember the devil is the Father of lies.
God had previously told Adam that he could eat of any tree in the garden except for one, the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was the one and only prohibition for Adam. Now it should be noted that the rule that God gave was originally given to Adam prior to Eve's creation. We know this from Genesis 2:16-17 where it says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This command came before Eve was created out of the rib of Adam.
It doesn't say, but I think it is fair to assume that it was Adam's responsibility as husband too teach his wife about the command of the Lord. And we can see hints of this in Genesis 3 that some where along the way, things got a little fuzzy, for Eve declared the command of God slightly different that God stated it. She says in Genesis 3:3, “but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
God did not saying anything about touching the tree, only about eating its fruit. Satan then seizes on this subtle change to God's Word to make some changes of his own by saying that they will not surely die, but they will become like God. Eve then falls for the deception and eats of the fruit and gives some to Adam who appears to be standing right next to her during this entire ordeal and everything changes. Verse 7 says, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” And through the single transgression of Adam, sin entered the world. The unrighteousness that began in Satan was now passed on to man.
And what God said would happen did happen. At this moment, Adam and Eve became spiritually dead, and would eventually die physically. The wages of their sin was in fact death.
The Spread of Sin
And this sin that now dwelt inside of Adam was like a disease, or perhaps a better way to describe it, it was like a trait. A trait of sin, or a trait of unrighteousness that was passed down from one generation to the next.
Adam and Eve's commission was to be fruitful and multiple, and they did. After sin entered the world they conceived and bore a child in the likeness of man. A what did they have? They gave birth to a bouncing baby sinner. Eve gave birth to Cain who eventually became the first murder, just like his spiritual father, Satan. The sin that had now taken up residence in the soul of Adam, was passed down to his child through the act of procreation.
But once again, it did not stop there, sin continued to spread. The trait of sin that resided in Adam was passed on to all of his children, and to his children's children, and so on and so forth. From Adam to Noah man continued to multiply, and as man multiplied so also did sin. At the point of Noah, God saw the wickedness of man was great upon the earth and flooded the earth in his wrath. After the flood, Noah and his son's picked up where Adam left off, they were commission to be fruitful and multiplying. And they did, more children, and therefore more sinners, because the sin that was in Adam, was also in them as descendants of Adam.
This is the story of humanity, the spread of sin entering into the world through one man, Adam. And because Adam is the first man, we have all inherited his sinful trait, his unrighteousness, his spiritual deadness. This is the fundamental reason why it says in Romans 3:10, “there is no on righteous, no not one.” It is because we are descendants of Adam and Adam was a sinner and a sinner can only produce a sinner.
Every child born on this planet, who has been born from the seed of Eve, which is all humanity, minus Christ, was born with a sin nature. Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” And as Jesus says in John 3:6. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” The flesh of Adam was cursed, therefore, as all mankind is a descendant of one man, Adam, therefore we are also cursed.
And the consequence of sin is death. The world is a full of graves because the world is full of sinners. This is why people die. This is why you will die, sin. As Paul says, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Life Through Christ
However, this is not the end of the story. The spread of sin and and spread of death is why God sent his Son. Jesus is the second Adam, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the one and only one who has the power to overcome the curse, to overcome sin and therefore overcome death. Through one man, Adam, came condemnation, and now through one man, Jesus, comes justification.
Where Adam transgressed God's law, Christ fulfilled it in perfect obedience. Where Adam harbored unrighteousness and passed it on to his offspring, Christ harbors righteousness and passes it upon those who are born again and place their faith in him.
Humanity falls into two camps, those who are born of Adam, and those who are born of Christ. One leads to the second death, and the other to eternal life.