Why should one man’s sin wreck things for all of us?

The monster within us, this sinful nature we’ve got that has us completely captive to “sin and death,” was in for a shock when God sent Jesus.

Up to that moment, it had complete freedom to do whatever it wanted with us, because anything we threw at it was useless. Our determination to obey God’s law, for instance, only gave our sinful nature more ammunition to condemn us, because all the law did was show us, to our embarrassment, just how many laws we were breaking, and our powerlessness to keep them all. Our efforts were no more effective than shooting paintballs at a tank. The law, even God’s law, had no impact on our sinful nature whatsoever. It rolled on regardless, without a dent in sight. It was unstoppable.

Until, that is, God sent Jesus to be a “sin offering,” Romans 8:3, the effect of which must have startled our sinful nature as it frolicked away inside our heads, because Jesus’ sin offering “condemned sin in sinful man.” It was like a massive great fly swat swishing out of nowhere, whacking our sinful nature to the wall. But how was Jesus able to do that for everybody? How was he able to get inside everyone’s head with the fly swat, hunt down the monster and destroy it?

Paul explains how in Romans 5:12, 19 – “Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man…so also through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous.” Since sin came into the world by one man, it can also be destroyed by one man. So, anyone saying it wasn’t fair that Adam’s sin condemned us all, would also have to say it’s not fair that Jesus’ sacrifice saved us all, too. But God is fair, because in both cases it’s one for one: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” verse 15.  

“Consequently,” verse 18, “just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” Jesus’ sin offering covers everyone who ever sinned since Adam. The power of sin, that gave our sinful nature control over us, has been broken. Neither it, nor the law, can condemn us any longer, Romans 8:1.

So what’s not fair about one man’s sin wrecking things for all of us, when one man’s righteousness put things right for us too?   

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