Sin: How does Adam’s sin affect us?

Sin: How does Adam’s sin affect us?

…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinnedRomans 5:12

According to Romans 5:12–21, Adam’s sin affects us all in three ways.

(1) There is inherited sin from the original sin of Adam that causes the rest of humanity to be born into a sinful state or condition. The corrupted sin nature that we inherit from Adam begins in our mother’s womb.1 This is what John Calvin referred to as “a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature.”2

(2) There is imputed sin whereby Adam’s sin and guilt is attributed, or reckoned, to us and our legal standing before and relationship with God is negated. Additionally, by the grace of God, the sinner’s guilt and condemnation is imputed to Jesus Christ, who atones for sin on the cross and enables his righteousness to be imputed to the sinner as a Christian.

(3) Adam’s sin is imparted to us so that we are conceived in a fallen state and, apart from the enabling grace of God, are unable to respond to the gospel or remedy our depravity. Simply put, we are each sinners by both nature and choice.3

As a result of our sin nature, we are by nature children of wrath,4 all sinners,5 and destined to death.6 Speaking of our sin nature, A. W. Tozer says:

There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.7

Therefore, God does not tempt us to sin, but instead the temptation arises from within our own sinful hearts. Jesus’ own brother speaks of the source of sin within us:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.8

Do you earnestly believe that God is altogether good and not the source of evil?

1Pss. 51:5; 58:3.
2John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 vols., ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 2.i.8.
3Pss. 51:5; 58:3; Isa. 53:6; 64:6; Rom. 3:23, 1 John 1:8.
4Eph. 2:3.
5Rom. 5:12, 19.
61 Cor. 15:21–22.
7A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Radford, VA: Wilder, 2008), 18–19.
8James 1:13–15; see also Prov. 27:19; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21–23; Luke 6:45.