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.
It doesn’t really seem fair does it? That Adam’s sin would be passed down to us for all generations. I didn’t choose to be born. I didn’t rebel against God in the womb. I didn’t enter the world with sinful thoughts in my heart. We just had a baby, and I can tell you that she hasn’t done anything thus far that resembles disobedience.
So how is it fair that the willful sin of Adam has permeated every person throughout history?
It’s not fair. It’s justice.
Sin works on a debt scale. The greater the sin, the greater the debt. If I lie to my wife about how much my latest bike part costs, I will incur a small amount of debt. But if I were to steal that same bike part, my debt would be substantially bigger.
Someone always absorbs the cost of sin. In the first case, my wife could choose to forgive me, thus absorbing the cost of that particular sin. In the second case, I may get away with theft and the bike shop absorbs the cost. I also may get caught, in which case I would have to repay the shop and likely serve some kind of sentence for stealing. The debt would be mine to pay.
In Adam and Eve’s case, the sin they committed, however innocuous it seemed, was against an eternal and perfect God. Because His nature is perfect and his lifespan is forever, sin against Him requires payment in kind. This means that Adam could strive to repay God his whole life and never succeed. His debt would transfer to his children, and children’s children, and so on.
We are still feeling the effects of original sin today because that original sin was committed against an eternal God. One man’s sin was transferred to all.
So how can this debt be repaid?
If there was some way to absorb that eternal debt, we would be able to live free in God’s eyes. But the only One who can repay an eternal debt is an eternal being. God Himself must pay it. But because man sinned, man must also pay. And there is only one way this could be done, one way that we could live debt free.
The One mediator that stands between God and man, Jesus Christ. In His obedience to go to the cross, Jesus took our debts upon Himself and paid them in full in His own body and blood. The extreme nature of His sacrifice, the gruesome death, the complete separation between He and His Father, the utter rejection from His people, all display the severity of our state before God and the lengths to which God went to redeem us.
We may have owed a debt of sin, but not to a tyrant dictator. We were in debated to the greatest kind of lender, One who is perfectly compassionate and abounding in steadfast love. He willingly bore the cost of all our debts that we might live free in His presence.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.