Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. 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! ~ Romans 5:12-15
Albert Einstein changed the world of physics. Martin Luther King Jr. brought momentum to the civil rights movement. President Abraham Lincoln kept the United States unified. Each reader could add to this list, thinking of an individual who made an impact in his life personally or on a significant portion of the world. A long philosophical discussion could ensue if one were to debate if one person can single-handedly affect every person who has lived, is living, or will live.
Yet in the course of four sentences, the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 5 identifies two such individuals, Adam and Jesus. Adam was created perfect, in the image of God with the ability not to sin. Yet shortly after his glorious creation, he disobeyed the Lord by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (See Genesis 3). This was the first sin and brought sin into a perfect world to be passed on to every human since. Adam made a difference. He brought the reality of sin and the consequence of sin, eternal death, into each of our lives. We live under this curse.
Jesus, on the other hand, came to overcome what Adam’s actions had produced. Jesus’ perfect life, innocent death on the cross and glorious resurrection secured the contents of a gift God has given to the world: forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. In Christ, God has declared the whole world not guilty! God has made his grace, undeserved love, overflow to many!
Lord Jesus, thank you for doing all that is necessary for my eternal security. Lead me to receive your gift by faith, trusting that in it I find full forgiveness and certainty of an eternal life with you. Use me to share this gift with others who do not know about it. Amen.