Rom 5:12-15 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
We often hear it said that it is not fair that we should be held responsible for Adam’s original sin. Paul addresses this idea here in verse twelve. He readily acknowledges that sin entered into the world by the action of one man. There is no “fair” or “not fair” here; it is a simple fact.
When sin entered into the world, it ushered in death. The righteous God of creation told Adam concerning the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil “the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).” There was no gray area here. The transgression of God’s law would bring certain death.
Once death entered into the world, it passed (pierced through) upon all men. However, Paul makes it clear here that death passed upon all men because all men have sinned. Regardless of how we might feel about being held responsible for Adam’s sin, it becomes a moot issue when we understand that we have sinned on our own. The wages of sin is death; we have sinned, and therefore we have earned death.
From Adam to until Moses, there was no other law spoken from God other than the injunction against eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This did not mean that sin did not exist before God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Remember, sin entered into the world by Adam. Sin entered into the world, and it did not go away.
Even though sin was in the world, without specific instruction (law), sin was not imputed (reckoned). Other than what God had put in the hearts of men, there was no express law to account for it. It is still evident that sin was in the world because men died. Although their years were generally much longer than we experience today, death that came by sin was still active in the world.
It did not matter that those who came after Adam had not committed the same sin that Adam committed. It did not matter that sin was not reckoned under a particular set of laws. Sin was in the world, and the proof was the men died. The law that God gave to Moses was given to shed light on why men died.
Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38). He is the figure (shadow) of Him that was to come. Whereas Adam’s (one man) offence ushered in death, the free gift of grace through Jesus Christ (one man) ushered in life. Adam was the son of God, fashioned from the dust of the earth. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Ghost.
May we bow before Him in adoration that His grace is sufficient to make us free from the law of sin and death!