FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, SO IN CHRIST ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:22
Eve was deceived, but Adam willfully sinned against the Lord. Adam knew what he was doing and made a conscious choice to disobey his Creator. As a result of his actions, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). The Bible clearly tells us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin separates us from a holy God, which is spiritual death; and because we no longer have His life to sustain us, it also leads to physical death. Each of us is destined to die once, and after that we will face judgment (see Hebrews 9:27).
God had clearly warned Adam that he would die if he disobeyed Him, but Adam did not remain alert to the dangers of sin. Centuries later, the people would station watchmen at the highest parts of the city to warn the inhabitants of coming danger. God told prophets such as Ezekiel that they were to serve as spiritual watchmen, warning the people that He would hold them accountable for not keeping His law. He said, “When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways . . . I will hold you accountable for their blood” (Ezekiel 3:18).
In order to understand holiness, we must first understand sin. However, this is difficult for us to grasp because we all have sinned and live in an environment affected by sin. Other than Christ, nobody has ever experienced perfect holiness, so it is hard for us to discern the difference between society’s norms and genuine righteousness. We are continually exposed to sin and learn to tolerate it, which causes our awareness of what is truly sinful to grow dull. Furthermore, none of us has experienced the full weight of the consequences for our sins. If we had, we might choose a different course.
Satan did not make Adam sin. God had created Adam in His image and given him the capacity to choose whether or not to obey His commands. Adam failed to keep watch and sinned of his own free will, and for this reason he became responsible for the presence and consequences of sin in the world. We, like Adam, have also sinned, and we must bear the consequences of that sin. Spiritual death silences every attempt we might make to transfer, even partially, our guilt to Satan, by whom man was first tempted.
God has authentic freedom and cannot sin, and He created Adam and Eve with a freedom that was dependent on Him. The concept of freedom lies at the very heart of God. As long as Adam and Eve refrained from sin, they could freely live. Disobedience results in bondage to sin. Freedom is more than the exercise of choice; it is always related to the consequences of that choice. Paul wrote, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Adam and Eve ultimately lost their freedom and their lives because of the lies they believed and the sin they willfully committed. Thankfully, neither sin nor death has the final word.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Read Genesis 3:6-7. Why did Adam choose to sin?
How can we be deceived into thinking that we are living a righteous life when in reality we aren’t?
What does it mean that “everything that does not come from faith is sin?”
How can we train ourselves to consider the short-term and long-term consequences of our choices?
What will be the impact on society when nobody has to suffer the consequences of poor choices, and how will that affect their path toward maturity?