Study Through Romans: Lesson 16 :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 5:12-21

You Choose; Death in Adam or Life in Jesus

12 Therefore, just as through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even  so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Last week we talked about the wonderful benefits that we have in Jesus. The most amazing benefit is that we are loved by God. Yes, let that sink in; the God who controls the universe, the God who knows my every fault and every sinful thought, loves me. He loves you. He freely showed us His love by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us and to pay for our sins.

  1. Sin and its entrance, verse 12

Sin came into the world by one man, Adam. He sinned in Genesis 3 when he took of the forbidden fruit and ate it. This is very important to understand. Eve, the Bible tells us, was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), but it was Adam who sinned willfully. Adam was not deceived; he knew exactly what he was doing when he took of the fruit from Eve and ate it. He may not have known the fallout that was coming, but he knew what he was doing was wrong. He had been given the commandment from God himself.

Genesis 2: 15-17, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'”

Man was given boundaries and the free will to either live within the boundaries or step outside. Man chose to step outside of the boundaries that God set in place. Adam did so, knowing the consequences. God told him he would die. Often, I have heard it said that Adam may not have understood the full extent of the consequences; and at times, have thought that as well. But Adam’s brain was pure, fully functioning, not tainted by sin, and having been made in the image of God; his brain was firing on all cylinders. Adam made the choice to sin. He did so with full knowledge and open-eyes.

How many of us sin the same way today? I do. I am sure that you do too. Sometimes we are caught off guard, and we sin out of a reaction to a stressful situation. But, often, way more often than we or I want to admit, we sin willfully. We sin with the full knowledge of the consequences and with the full knowledge that what we are doing is wrong.

Much like rolling a big rock down a hill, you can push the rock but you can’t always control the damage that is done once you let go of the rock. It did not take very long for Adam and Eve to go from eating a piece of fruit to one of their kids killing the other (Genesis 4:8). Sin is in all of us, and it comes out in one of three ways: The sin of pride, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. In this case, Cain killed Abel out of pride. He was upset that God did not accept his gift.

Once again, this was not about ignorance. Cain knew that God was a God who required blood sacrifices. His parents for sure had told them the account of God making coats of skin (Genesis 3:21) to cover their nakedness, and hide their sinful shame. Over the years as they were growing up, Cain and Abel would have seen their father kill animals to offer as sacrifices. But Cain defied God; and when his offering was rejected, he rose up and killed his brother out of jealousy and pride.

One of my dear pastor friends once defined pride as one thinking the rules don’t apply to me. Cain was in this boat; he thought that he could worship God his way and not God’s way. Here is the truth: blood covers sin; that is it. The right kind of blood from the right kind of animal, offered in the right way and with the right attitude and spirit, covers our sins.

In Hebrews 9:19-22 we see this, “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Notice that it was the blood of calves or goats, and with water and hyssop; we know that the animals had to be spotless, no blemishes allowed and no marks allowed. They had to be properly inspected and even killed in a certain way at a certain place, and on and on we can go. But Cain thought he could come his way and God had to accept it. But God is the one who determines how we approach him. We must do it his way to be accepted. Let that sink in how fast sin takes root and manifests itself in us. Adam disobeyed God, but had the sense of shame and sin; he hid from God and tried to cover his shame. Cain, on the other hand, had no sense of shame but that of entitlement and hated those, even his brother, who worshiped God the right way.

It did not take very long for the root of sin to spread and bear its rotten fruit. Look at where we have come as a people. We are more sinful than ever, and we are getting worse. It has become a sport to flaunt our sinful lifestyles and to demand that all accept them. If we mention God’s way or truth, we are called bigots. We are reminded that in a world that tells and honors lies and liars, the truth-tellers are going to be hated. Eventually, like Cain, the liars will rise up and kill the ones doing right.

According to, there were 108,541 armed robberies in the US in 2018. That is 297 robberies per day, or about 12 robberies per hour. In the 90 minutes that I have been writing this article, there have been 18 armed robberies in the US. According to the same site, there were 15,505 rapes in California in 2018. That works out to more than 42 rapes per day in California.

The root of sin that we get from our father Adam is rampant and getting worse. We are a sad people; we have made a sport of sin. We have become so accustomed to sin, death and evil that even as Christians we are no longer surprised by it and we are no longer shocked by it. We have grown calloused. Sin eats us up and devours our children; we see them caught up in evil and they are driven to it like moths to flames; we try to warn them but they are willful and defiant and sinful. They are full of pride, unteachable and unafraid of the consequences of sin.

  1. Jesus and His entrance

Jesus came into a world that was as sinful as ours. We see the hatred in the people of Israel for the Samaritans, for instance, in John 4. We see that hatred of the truth by the Pharisees, and we see the treatment of people by the Romans. The Roman government was a brutal and deadly government. Its armies conquered and dominated the known world for hundreds of years. Slavery was rampant, wars rampant, poverty rampant and death normal. Many of the Caesars were homosexual, and sexual promiscuity was rampant everywhere. There have been many temples discovered that were simply places for sexual encounters with the priestesses and temple prostitutes.

Robbery and murder were prevalent, and crime required that the Roman government be on the offensive all the time. Jesus came into the time when the religious leaders of the Jews had worn out the people financially; they stole from them, and Jesus had to address that twice when he overthrew their change tables in the Temple. Jesus came in and lived a perfect, sinless life. Like Adam, Jesus too was tempted (Matthew 4). He chose to obey God rather than Satan. But all through his life, he was tempted over and over, and He chose to obey God.

Hebrew 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus was tempted and He never sinned. Now because of that, He became our perfect substitute. He was able to pay for our sins since He had no sin of his own. God put our sin on Him, and in Him and Him alone we have eternal life. This is the only way of salvation. But there are many Cains still around today. They think that they can come to God any way that they want; they think that God has to accept them as they are and that if He does not, He is some kind of ogre.

Just recently, I saw an interview with a prominent ‘pastor,’ and he was asked by the interviewer if Jesus was the only way to God. He did not answer the question Biblically. He implied that there were many ways to God and that Jesus was only one of them. This man pastors a church of thousands, most of whom it would seem are not saved since they are not taught that Jesus is the only way. This religious leader is just as dangerous as the men that led the Jews in Jesus’ day. They have a form of righteousness but it is their own righteousness and not the righteousness bought for us in and by Jesus. You see, these folks are just modern-day Cains leading modern-day Cains.

But Jesus came and provided enough grace for us all. His blood provided enough power to wash away all of our sins. Like Cain, like anyone else, the choice is up to us. All of the power needed in the blood of Jesus has been provided to wash away and cover our sins eternally. In Adam we got the sin nature, but in Jesus, we have the power to get the righteousness of God in us and once again be in fellowship with God. In Adam, our sins are stacked up against us and there is a constant call for God’s wrath, as he hates sin.

In Jesus, our sins are removed forever and there is a constant call for God to shower us with His grace, His love, His kindness and His peace. What a difference? In Adam, we are kicked out of Paradise. In Jesus, we are welcomed into Paradise. In Adam, we have death and suffering. In Jesus, we have life and healing. In Adam, we have no hope. In Jesus, He is our hope. In Adam, the grave is our enemy. In Jesus, the grave is our victory. Those in Adam can never see Heaven, and those in Jesus can never see Hell. Those in Adam approach the throne of God in their own righteousness; and like Cain, they will be rejected. Those in Adam approach the throne of God in Jesus’ righteousness, they will be accepted.

We have these words of peace in 2 Cor. 5: 17-21, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Are you a new creation in Jesus? Or, are you just the same old man in Adam? The man in Jesus has life forever. The man in Adam is dead already and has no hope to save himself. Choose well. One thief rejected Jesus and died in his sins; the other accepted Jesus and today is alive and well in Heaven. Which thief will you meet one day?

God bless you,

Pastor Sean Gooding

Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church