The Law of Substitution—Romans 5:12
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12)
The idea that the entire world was plunged into sin by the choice of one man is a stumbling block to many people. It is a hard concept to grasp that the entire world was held accountable to God for the actions of Adam. Many citing that it is not fair that one man decided the fate of the entire human race.
However, Adam was a different type of man than you and I. Adam was Gods representative for the earth and the human race. He was the one responsible to obey God's command commissioned from the very beginning. He knew and experience God in an intimate and personal way, in the sinless state of the garden where he walked with the Lord in the cool of the evening.
When Adam transgressed the positive command of the Lord by eating of the forbidden fruit, sin enter into the world. Once sin was introduced into perfect creation then no one was able to stop it or escape its power and control until all was polluted by it.
The death resulted was both physical and spiritual. We see and experience physical death all the time. Sin's power ruined the perfect world, the universe and the bodies we were created with. However, even more destructive was the spiritual death that was result of the transgression. Sin polluted the perfect union with the Lord and put a huge impossible barrier between the two. As a result, death and separation came to all because all followed in the pattern of Adam.
Although at first glance it may seem unfair, that Adam was our representative before the Lord. However, The same law that Adam operated in, plunging us into a fallen world, is the same law by which Jesus was able to get it all back and bring restoration. This law is called the Law of Substitution. Adam was the humankinds first representative with God, but Christ was the last. What he did for us on the cross was much more in every way than the result of one mans sin. Christ brought justification to all who believes and accepts this free gift.
I am so thankful that Jesus bridge the gap that sin had created between me and God. I am so glad that God choose Jesus as our representative to live perfectly and blamelessly and to make atonement for my sin. I am so thankful that He stood accused in my place so that I could live righteous before God. What he did far surpassed the trespass... thank you Jesus!
Original article published October 7, 2009.