Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12)
Not only is Adam’s sin “imputed” to all his descendants but this verse makes it clear that the creation itself was marred as a result of Adam’s sin. So, all of us who came after Adam were born into a sinful world. I never taught my daughter to be selfish. I never taught her to cop an attitude with me when I tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do. I never taught her to lie to cover up when she is in trouble. I love her very, very much, but she is a heathen sinner and she was born that way! Apart from Christ, we don’t have a chance. We were all born spiritually dead – spiritually stillborn. That’s the bad news.
But there is also good news!
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:17-19)
These verses teach that Christ’s righteousness and ultimate victory over sin and death is “imputed” to all who trust in Him. No one wants to believe in imputed sin, but everyone wants to believe in imputed righteousness! LOL! But Scripture is clear that both are true.
No one is righteous.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:1-3)
How easy it is to look at the above verses and rationalize that they don’t include us. “I do not do abominable deeds.” Or, I might say, “I’m not perfect, but I do some good things.” As a youth pastor, I used to mistakenly and very sinfully tell kids, “You have a great heart.” Or, “You’re a great kid.” Well, that is not theologically true. What would have been more accurate to tell them is that, “Compared to most of the other heathen at your high school, you aren’t as bad as them.” 😉 Or, “compared to other sinful fallen teenagers, God has been gracious to you to help you make a lot more good decisions than most.” But I believed, again, wrongly, that probably would have been a little heavy theologically for them. So, I just taught them some bad theology instead. If you used to be in my youth group, I’m sorry. Clearly, according to the verses above, none of us are good. What we are is sinners in need of God’s grace daily.
Read what the Apostle Paul wrote about his religious pedigree:
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:4-11)
Paul says that he counts all his good deeds as “rubbish”, literally “dung” (or you might be able to think of a synonymous slang word), in order to gain Christ!
Isaiah 64:6 says that our sins are like a “polluted garment” or some translations say “filthy rags”:
We have all become like one who is unclean,and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.We all fade like a leaf,and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
A “polluted garment” would be one that is so disgusting that it was no longer usable and had to be burned, like a garment that was wrapped around the skin of someone who had leprosy. The garment would become corrupted by the discharge that would leak out of the sores all over the leper’s body and would be thrown into the fire after it was used. The Bible says that even our best deeds are that disgusting compared to the righteousness of God.
It is the clear testimony of both the New Testament and the Old Testament that the world went dramatically wrong in Genesis 3.
We are all great sinners in need of a great Savior. Thankfully, One has come!