The Adam's Family (Romans 5:18-19)
[Therefore,] as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. ¹⁹For 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 5:18-19
You were born into a dysfunctional family. Not merely dysfunctional, but rotten and broken.
Perhaps you’ve heard of famously troubled families like the rivalries between the Hatfields and McCoys or the Capulets and Montagues. But the surface problems of such families pale in comparison to the root problem at the origin of your family tree. The reality is that you and everyone you’ve ever met begin life as part of the most broken family tree that ever was. One of your distant relatives was the first murderer; another was the first polygamist who even wrote a line about his vengeful and violent attitude in life (Genesis 4:23). This is a pretty broken family tree, but when we read Romans 5, we truly see the depths of the brokenness.
In Romans 5, Paul explains the problem you and I face (5:12-17). Sin came into the world through Adam. Sin reigned and death came to all people. Then Jesus Christ, the only righteous One, took on flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, and rose victoriously.
Paul then summarizes his argument with our memory verses for this week:
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. ¹⁹For 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 5:18-19)
Here Paul introduces us to two family trees: the one you’re born into and the one into which you can be adopted. The family tree you are born into is Adam’s Family Tree. All people are born into this family tree. The “one trespass” is the sin of Adam. His sin nature is passed down through the generations. All people are born in sin. As a result of this, all people are under the just condemnation of God because of their inherited sin nature and their own willful sin. We are sinners by nature and by choice.
But God, in His mercy, has made a new family tree. When we were weak and sinful, enemies of God, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-11). He lived the perfect life that we could not live. He died the death that we deserved to die. As our sacrificial substitute, Christ died in our place so that by His “one act of righteousness” we could be made right with God. That is why Paul will go on to say that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
This new family tree is available to us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No matter how good or bad the circumstances of your family life may seem, know that you and I began life in the same broken family tree of Adam. But God has made a way for you to be adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:12-17). If you are not trusting in Christ, know that He is the only way to escape the brokenness and condemnation into which you were born. Call on His Name and trust in Him today. If you are trusting in Christ, rejoice! You have a new family and a new righteousness before God because of what Christ has done.
Have you considered that there are really only two family trees and really only two kinds of people in the world (those in Christ and those in Adam)? How does this bring clarity to your world?
How would you explain to a friend or family member the reality of these two groups?
Paul describes the wonder of adoption in Romans 8:12-17. What stands out to you about Paul’s description of adoption?
Nate Miller is the Associate Preaching Pastor at Revive Church in Brooklyn Park, MN. Nate and his wife, Angela, live in Brooklyn Park and have three children.