12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:12-21
Here is an amazing truth we seldom consider. Through the sin of the first man, Adam, death was passed down to all men; but through the righteousness of the second man, Jesus Christ, forgiveness and life are made available to all men.
When Adam disobeyed the commandment of the Lord and ate the forbidden fruit in the garden (Genesis 3), he brought physical and spiritual death into the world upon all mankind. Not only did Adam die spiritually and become afraid of God, and eventually die physically and return to the dust of the ground, but every descendant of Adam has been born into this world in spiritual death, not loving God or trusting and honoring Him, and every descendent of Adam is subject to physical death and also eternal death and damnation.
Through Adam’s sin, all are judged by God to be sinners and, in fact, live in sin and disobedience to God. And this was true even during that time when the law of God was not yet given through Moses and recorded as a witness against all mankind.
But when God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, a true man, to fulfill the holy and perfect will of God in His thoughts, desires, words, and deeds, and when He suffered and died for the ungodly and paid in full the just penalty for the sins of the whole world, the benefits of His perfect sacrifice — pardon and forgiveness for all our sins, and His perfect righteousness — were made available to all mankind.
This means that you and me — though born into this world condemned sinners and subject to death, and though we have in our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds transgressed God’s holy commandments — can now look to Christ in faith and be accounted of God forgiven and righteous in His sight for Jesus’ sake.
Instead of coming to us in judgment and with a sentence of eternal death and damnation, God reaches out to us with mercy and forgiveness and offers us life everlasting for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ! Cf. John 3:16-17.
And so, the second Adam, Christ, is not like the first Adam; for the first Adam brought upon us a sentence of condemnation and death; Christ won for us God’s acquittal, for Adam’s sin and all our own sins as well, and a sentence of life eternal in the everlasting kingdom of our God and Savior.
When we place our faith in Christ, God’s acquittal and His gracious gift of life in Christ Jesus become our own. Because Christ died for the sins of the world and rose again on the third day, we can look to Him in faith and be certain of our justification. We can be sure that, in Christ, our sins are paid for in full and forgiven. And we can be sure of life, that we too will be raised up on the last day unto life everlasting in heaven, for Jesus’ sake.
Dearest Lord Jesus, we thank You for fulfilling all righteousness in our stead and for bearing on the cross the full and just punishment for Adam’s sin, our sin, and the sin of the world, that in You, we might have pardon, forgiveness, and life everlasting. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]