Sin Entered the World Through One Man—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)

You and I do not have a choice. We were born sinners. This is Adam’s fault!

He wasn’t born this way. Adam was born in the image of God (Gen. 2:27). He was also humanity’s representative. Like an ambassador, his decisions were on humanity’s behalf.

When Adam disobeyed God (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6), he plunged future humanity into sin. Sin both in the sense that we all break divine laws but also in the sense of a powerful force holding us captive. We are born into sins powerful current spanning generations. Sin holds us captive in its power from the moment we are born until the moment we die.

Here’s what happened. Adam disobeyed a direct command from God. God gave Adam freedom to eat from every tree in the garden except one (Gen. 2:16-17). God gave Adam a choice but was careful to explain why to avoid this tree. Because it held the knowledge of good and evil, blessings and calamity. Until this time, all Adam knew was God’s blessings.

As humanity’s representative, the result applied to everyone. Because Adam made us sinners, we’ve all experienced both good and evil and at the end of the day, we know death. Slowly dying, both physically and spiritually.

It seems unfair that one man’s choice causes the devastation we experience from sin. But Paul is setting us up to understand God used the same principle to rescue humanity. Adam was humanity’s first representative with God, but Christ was the last.


How does it make you feel to know Adam's choice brought sin into the world?

Have you ever thought of Adam as humanity’s representative?

Does knowing that Jesus Christ was also humanity’s representative give you hope?

Previous: Romans 5:9-11  Next: Romans 5:13

Original article published October 7, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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