Lesson 22—Romans 5:12-21

From Condemnation to Justification of Life. In Adam or In Christ

In our last lesson we learned of the rich blessings that are ours in Christ. Once we were far from God by nature and by practise. Now we are reconciled and brought near to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ and God Himself is the source of our joy (vs. 11). We are going to look back now to the fountain from whence all these blessings come to us. We trace sin to its source and grace to its source, and we find that two men stand, one at the beginning of history, and the other at its close, and everything is headed up in them. The one man Adam is the head of one race, he is the father of all the condemned, the stream of sin and death and judgment begins with him.

The other man, of Whom Adam is a figure, (vs. 14) is Christ. He is the Head of a new race, the living ones, the justified ones.

When Christian entered Interpreter’s house he saw the picture of a man hanging up against the wall. This man had his eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books was in his hand, the world behind his back and a crown of gold on his head. When Christian saw this picture he said “What meaneth this?” Interpreter answered and said “The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand.”

This can be said of the two men in our lesson today. We gaze upon the portraits of two men, Adam and Christ. We ask our Interpreter, who in this case is Paul, “What meaneth this?” He answers “These are the two great Leaders of the two families. Many thousands follow in their train.”

We look then at the first man and notice the world before him, clouds overcasting the sky overhead, and gloom following wherever he goes. We notice beneath this portrait the name,

Adam, The First.

We behold no beauty in this picture although as we gaze we trace a glory that has faded away. One word sums up all we see here and that word is Sin. We trace the development of sin and notice it is given to us in four panels, vs. 12-18.

Panel no. 1—The Entrance of Sin

“By one man sin entered into the world.” vs. 12.

In the foreground we have a world of sinners standing before a one way gate called “death.” In the background far distant we discover a world beautiful and fair, bright in the glory of its Creator. Through an opened gate flows a dark stream that covers the entire scene bringing misery and gloom wherever it flows. At the gate stands a man, his hand flung open. The name of the gate is “disobedience,” the name of the river “sin” and the man is “Adam the first.”

Panel no. 2—The Rule of Death, vs. 14

By one man’s offence death reigned.” vs. 17

In this picture a grim monarch sits enthroned. Beneath his scepter, at his feet is trembling humanity. One man is there, he is responsible for the slavery of his children. He handed over the sceptre. He involved all his subjects in his one act of surrendering to the enemy. His name is “Adam the first.”

Panel no. 3—The Fruit of Sin, vs. 15

“Through the offence of one many be dead.”—vs. 15. In the background of this picture we have “Paradise,” man’s happy home of long ago. In the foreground we have a vast cemetery, over its gateway these words, “Where the dead bury their dead.” We ask ourselves the question, “How did this mighty transformation come about?” The answer is, “A man led the way.” That man is “Adam the first.”

Panel no 4.—The End of Sin, vs. 16

“The judgment was by one man to condemnation.” vs. 16

We shudder as we look at this picture. Dark clouds loom, the sky is heavy, a storm is brewing, the voice of the heavens will soon be heard in thunder as its flaming, flashing sword strikes terror into every heart. It is the Day of Doom approaching and all who stand trembling under that judgment cloud have inscribed in their foreheads this name “Adam the first.”

In our next lesson we shall look at the other portrait.


1. Where do believers find their joy?

2. Who are the leaders of the two families in the world?

3. Why is death called a “one way” gate.

4. Give two words that characterize Adam the first.