Let’s talk about the sin of Adam specifically as it relates to a very popular concept today that we all as human beings inherit the sin of Adam and are therefore born by inheritance sinful and guilty and with blame because of sin. Is this a biblical concept? The concept of this inheritance of sin is taken a lot of times from Romans 5:12. Paul said to the church at Rome “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned.” He said that through one man sin entered the world. In Genesis chapter 3, you can see that Adam was the first man to sin and that was the entrance of sin into the world. So it’s a very simple concept. He also says that death entered also through sin. As a result of sin, death entered the world. In Genesis chapter 3, we have the introduction of spiritual death being brought into the world because of Adam’s sin. He, as well as Eve, were removed from the Garden of Eden. They were removed from the tree of life. They were removed from that relationship that they had with God because they were now in darkness, they now had sin and they didn’t have anything to properly take care of that sin, to make atonement for that sin. But rather he says that that death has spread to all men. Some might say “Death has spread to all men because of Adam.” No, the text only says that by Adam death and sin have been introduced into the world. But rather he says that death has spread to all men because ALL sinned. So death spread to Adam because Adam sinned but death spread to you and I and everyone else because we sinned.
Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Adam was responsible for his sin and that’s the reason why he lost his relationship with God while he was no longer innocent and blameless. And that same spiritual death that was introduced first in Adam, because of his sin, has now spread to all men (Romans 5:12) – The reason why it spread to all men is not because of Adam but because of all men. He says “because all sinned”.
If you look skip down into the context to verse 18, he starts to talk about what the Lord Jesus has done and he said in verse 18 “Therefore as through one man’s offense (he’s talking about Adam), judgment came to all men resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act, the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many were made righteous.” Let’s think about this logically. By one man’s disobedience (he’s certainly talking in context about Adam), many were made sinners. Earlier in the context, he identified that sin and death spread unto all men, reason being that all sin. We’ve followed in the footsteps of Adam and so Adam is shown here really as a representative of the condition of all men not because just Adam sinned, but because all have sinned, we are all individually guilty of sin. He begins talking about “through one man’s righteous act”. That’s the Lord Jesus on the cross. Through his righteous act, we have the free gift coming now to all men resulting in justification of life. Let’s think about this logically. If we have Adam’s sin and one says “We are all inheriting that”, then the same would come in the comparison of verse 18, with the righteous act of Jesus, that we would all inherit through birth the free gift. Because he says here that “it came to all men”. Verse 19 says “By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners. Even also by one man’s obedience, many were made righteous.” How am I made righteous? Through the obedience of Jesus? Yes, but what do I need to do? I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to respond to to the Lord. I’ve got to respond to the gospel call unto salvation. So there’s my obedience to the gospel that needs to be taken into consideration and that’s how I come to the blood of Christ, that’s how I was made righteous.
So in the opposite figure, we have the sin of Adam and we’ve all followed in that footstep as well. But we had to do something where it’s not that we’re just born that way, we had to commit sin as well in order to follow in Adam’s footsteps. Likewise we have to come into obedience and follow in the footsteps of the obedient Messiah in order to have the benefits in which he has given us as well. We follow in Adam’s footsteps, we commit sin and we become spiritually dead, we’re no longer innocent. We follow in the Lord’s footsteps, we become obedient as he was obedient and we become righteous, we become holy and our sins are atoned for. So Romans 5, in harmony of the context, does not say that we have inherited Adam’s sin, it only says that we have followed in his footsteps and now we need to turn and follow in the Lord’s footsteps.