Scripture Reading:  Romans 5:12-21

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”  (Romans 5:12)

The first eleven verses of this chapter deal with the benefits that we have received as a result of justification.  The last part of the chapter deals with the problem of original sin.  The real issue in this passage is — where does the sinful nature of human beings originate?  The answer is Adam, our first father.

In order to understand the concept of original sin, we must deal with some basic theological truths.  First is the idea of headship.  Adam was the natural head of the human race, since he was the first created human being.  We are all natural descendants of Adam and thus we inherited Adam’s fallen nature.

But Adam was also the federal head of the human race.  There is a representative union between Adam and all human beings who are born by ordinary generation (Jesus Christ was born of supernatural conception).  This representative nature has judicial implications.  Adam represented the human race in the Covenant of Works.  He was required to obey God in order to have fellowship with God.  But Adam failed to obey God on behalf of the human race.  His guilt was passed on to his descendants.

The second theological concept is the idea of imputation.  Imputation is the setting down to one’s account of what is said of another.  In the case of Adam, the guilt and corruption of Adam’s sin are imputed to all of his ordinary descendants.  This is known as original sin.  Human beings are sinful by nature.  Our individual sins flow out of our sin nature.

Where did sin originate?  “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”  Adam failed to obey God.  As a result sin came into the world.  Because Adam was the natural and federal head of the human race, his guilt was passed on to all his ordinary descendants.

But God did not leave us in this sinful state.  He sent the second Adam, Jesus Christ, to save us!  “But the free gift is not like the trespass.  For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace that one man Jesus Christ wounded for many” (v. 15).

Lord God, I know all to well my sinful nature. I struggle with sin every day.  I am thankful that You sent Jesus Christ to deliver me from my sins.  Give me the strength and will to resist sin.


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