just as sin entered the world through one man…
Paul will spend the remainder of chapter five calling to our attention the four consequences of Adam’s sin (the “one man” Paul referenced in our passage today). The first consequence is that sin entered the world in the first place. Some of us might feel this is incredibly unfair after all: “Why does one man’s mistake have to affect all of us? Why should I have to pay for his error?”
Try looking at it this way: Michael Phelps is considered to be one of the greatest swimmers and Olympians of all time. He has won 14 career gold medals and at this writing, has broken 37 world records. But he hasn’t won every race in which he competed. Suppose he lost a race and as a result cost the United States a gold medal. Would you say: “That’s unfair. I didn’t get a chance to compete. Maybe I could have done better.” Of course you wouldn’t because Michael Phelps is the best swimmer this country has to offer.
Adam was the best humanity had to offer — and he got beat by sin in the Garden of Eden. We lost — we sent our best and he simply was defeated. Think you could have done better? Try going just one week without thinking a bad thought, getting in a foul mood, saying an unkind word, or doing anything wrong. Good luck. And by the way, if you do, I would be honored to meet you.
I think it probably matters less how sin came into the world — and more that it’s here. Yet some people continue to debate the goodness of man — as if man has some redeeming quality to justify eternal life without God’s grace. Man doesn’t. We’re all sinners and have been from the beginning of time. Once we stop arguing this fact, it clears up a lot of confusion — we see the harsh reality of our own mortality and the futility of trying to do good without Jesus at our core. Where does Jesus fit in your world view? At the center (through whom everything else is viewed) or somewhere else?