Lesson 3 – The Problems “In Adam” and the Blessings “In Christ”

The Problems “In Adam” and the Blessings “In Christ”

Lesson Aim:     To show how all mature people “in Adam “ in the world realm are losers and all believers “in Christ” can be winners.

Scripture:         Romans 5:12-21.


These lessons In Part I form the preface for our study of the book of Romans.  They  should help us in our approach to this great letter.  Some details of God’s plan for mankind are presented that are not found in other Biblicial documents.  Our text has been chosen as a part of the preface because it is here Paul clearly establishes the problems of mature people “in Adam” in the world and the graces of God “in Christ.”

In verse twelve, Paul used the Greek word “dia touto” which has been translated therefore in the NIV and wherefore in the KJV.  “Wherefore” appears to be the better translation because the Greek words “dia touto” refers to the channel through which sin entered the world.  “Dia” means the channel of an act.  “Touto” means the thing. 

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed to all men, for that all have sinned.  (KJV)  Romans 5: 12

In Romans 5:1 the Greek word “ouv” has been translated therefore in both the KJV and the NIV.  It refers back to what the writer had previously said.  Paul had said in chapter three that neither the Jews nor the Gentiles were righteous (3:10).  Following this declaration he set forth the doctrine of justification by faith with the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood as the “atoning sacrifice” (3:22-26).  In chapter four he showed how the promises God made to Abraham came by faith to Christians.  We do not need to be concerned with circumcision or the Law of Moses.  We do need to be concerned about the problems Adam’s transgression caused all mankind.  We are happy Jesus was willing to be “delivered over to death for our sins and was raised for our justification.”  Rom. 4:25. 

Why did we need Jesus to die for us?  Why do we need the new birth and justification by faith to enjoy God’s presence?  For the answer to these questions and all other problems of the mature man in the body of flesh, Paul took the recipients of his letter all the way back to Adam in Romans 5:12.

   Let us go back and review Adam’s offense in Genesis 3.  The Lord God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Gen. 2:16, 17).  Adam disobeyed a direct command given by God.  At this time sin and death were not factors in this world.  They came through the very first man, Adam.  They came into the world because of Adam’s offense.  The penalty for disobeying this command was death.  Death means separation.  Adam and Eve were driven from the presence of God and the tree of life.  This was also the beginning of their physical death (Rom. 8:20, 21).  This is how sin and death came into our world.  The question we ask, “How did it spread to us?”  Death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12).  We did not disobey a direct command like Adam; however, we do suffer the same consequences. 

Why did death spread to us?  It spread to us because we sinned.  The question is, how did Adam’s transgression cause us to sin?  It should be noted that death did not pass to us because Adam sinned.  Death passed to us because of our own sin.  Note carefully Romans 5:19. “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.”  All maturing men and women “in Adam” will become sinners at some point in their lives, but why?

This answer will be found in our study from Genesis 3.  Adam got the knowledge of good and evil when he broke God’s covenant.  We do not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.  We sin because, like Adam, the sinner, we have the knowledge of good and evil.  This happens to each individual as he or she develops in the maturity of mind, heart and conscience (Rom. 2:14, 15).  In this way death spreads to all men.  Consequently, it can be said we are “made sinners” because of Adam’s transgression.  This is the dilemma of all people born in the likeness of Adam.  Since this is the case, Paul looked on Adam as the head of all those who were doomed to become sinners and suffer death.  He also saw him “as a type of Him who was to come.”  Rom. 5:14.

The “One who was to come” with God’s grace was, and is, Jesus Christ.  He has already been introduced in Romans 3:22 as the One in whom God’s righteousness would be revealed to people who have faith.  Paul developed a non-comparative scene involving the problems “in Adam” and the blessings “in Christ” in verses 15-17 of our text.  We may call it a dichotomy because Paul has defined two mutually exclusive and contradictory groups.  This is the definition of dichotomy. 

God’s grace abounded to every problem mankind suffered as a result of having the knowledge of good and evil.  We all fall under the condemnation of God because we will choose evil.  When a person chooses good he or she does right; however, when they choose evil they don’t do right.  This is a problem.  God solved this problem for us by His gift of His own righteousness because of our faith in Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice.

The man born in Adam will sin because he has the knowledge of good and evil.  Death will spread upon his life as a reigning force.  He will know the condemnation, that is, the wrath of God.  To complicate this matter for the Israelites “in Adam,” God brought in the Law (Rom. 3:19, 20).  This Law was the Ten Commandments and other aspects of the Levitical Priesthood.  “It (the Law) came in that the transgression might increase.”  5:20.

This completes our list of problems “in Adam in the world realm.”  We now have sin, death, Law, and God’s wrath as problems for the man “in Adam.”  The situation can be summed up by saying “sin reigned in death.”  5:21.  That is, all mature people in Adam have sinned and they are separated from God.  Sin is the reigning force in their lives.

In Paul’s letter he tells us God’s solution for all these problems.  We will learn that by one mighty act of God, we can move with Christ from the power of all these problems.  We join Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection after we develop faith in the gospel and accept His new covenant.  It happens in the final process of our new birth, baptism.  We become alive to God “in Christ.”  We enjoy God’s righteousness instead of God’s wrath.  Please read Romans 3:31 through 5:11.  In chapter six we can learn what it means to be free from sin as a reigning power.

   Law was another problem “in Adam.”  Paul took up this subject in chapter seven.   Finally in chapter eight, we will learn the full meaning of being free from death; or to speak positively, the meaning of being alive to God.  All people have been born in the nature of Adam.  If they stay in Adam out of Christ after they have exercised the knowledge of good and evil with a mature conscience they are sure to become losers in life.  Everybody has the potential to be a son of God.  Jesus’ personality and character is every persons’ potential; however, if they remain “in Adam” in the world realm their “self” will be characterized by the world culture.  We only need to read the daily newspapers to understand it reads like Romans 1:24-32.

Questions for Discussion

1.      What was taught in the first four and one half chapters of Romans that is of prime interest to us?

2.      How do people of the world get into God’s grace and find peace?

3.      How did sin and death come into this world?

4.      How does Adam’s transgression give us a problem?

5.      How did God respond to every problem man suffered “in Adam” in the world realm?

6.      Why will all people become sinners if they live to the maturity of their minds, hearts and consciences?

7.      Explain the four big problems “in Adam” in the world.

8.      How did we, as Christians, get free from all these problems as a reigning power over us?

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