Yes, it dawned on us that there could be another definition or meaning for the word sin. We now believed the phrase; All have sinned referred to a point in time when everyone sinned. The only time that this could be referring to had to be back in the beginning, in the beginning of God’s creation. The phrase actually points to the very moment when all were in one man, Adam. You see, when Adam fell, the entire human race was constituted or formally established as sinners.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19).
It was by one man’s disobedience that many were made sinners. Adam was the first man and the forefather of the entire human race (Genesis 2:19). Adam was considered to be the federal head of the human race, which is like our president, who is seen as the head of our nation and one who represents us and/or speaks on our behalf before the entire rest of the world. Besides being the federal head of the human race, Adam was also known as, the seminal head of the entire human race. The meaning of the seminal head implies that everyone existed in seed form within the body of Adam. By being both the federal head and the seminal head of the entire human race, the belief is that when he sinned, it was as if we all had sinned at the same time. For it was at this point in time that the phrase, For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God took on its meaning.
When Adam and his wife, Eve, fell into sin (Genesis 3), they brought the curse of sin on the entire human race. Instead of the sin being inherited from our parents, the sin was inherited from our one parent, Adam. In that sense, every member of the human race now played a part in the fall of man. When Adam sinned, we were actually sinning with him. Adam’s disobedience resulted in the human race being plunged into sin, leading to the imputation of sin. The word impute is defined as to attribute (especially, a fault or misconduct) to another; charge with; ascribe; to ascribe (goodness or guilt) to a person as coming from another. This imputation of sin took place when Adam sinned and the original sin was charged to every person’s account that came after him.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
This is why we see those who lived from Adam to Moses, before the law was given, dying, even though they themselves did not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression. Adam’s sin was imputed or charged to all because we all are connected with Adam’s race. So, this brings us back to an earlier set of questions. What sin does a baby who is born, takes one breath, then dies, commit? What did the baby do that was prohibited? What did the baby fail do that was required of him or her? What sin did this baby commit? The very sad fact that infants sometimes die demonstrates that even infants are impacted by Adam’s sin, since physical and spiritual death were the results of Adam's original sin. Therefore, the only sin that the baby in this case is guilty of is the sin that was passed down to him or her by Adam, the father of mankind.
As we mentioned earlier, the word sin is usually defined as personal sin, which may be one of commission (doing something that is prohibited) or one of omission (failing to do what is required of you). And while this definition appears to hold true for all of mankind, we see through Scripture that there was a time period where sin was not imputed because there was no law. During this time period, man was not deemed guilty of breaking or disobeying God’s laws, since he had not given his laws to mankind yet.
The fact that God would impute the disobedience of one man to the entire human may seem a little unfair to many of you but it is not as unfair as you think. God offers to impute the righteousness of Christ to the account of a believer, making that person’s record as good (or as perfect) as Jesus Christ’s just as he imputed the sin of Adam to the account of all of mankind making everyone sinners. Imputed righteousness in place of imputed sin; sounds fair to us.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (I Corinthians 15:21-22).
Death came into the world because of what man (Adam) did, and it is because of what this other man (Jesus) has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. Every one dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and wherever there is sin, death results. But all who are related to Jesus Christ will rise again, as members of his spiritual race. (to be continued…)
Enjoy your blessings - KW