Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and . . . death came to all people, because all sinned.
We don’t have to look very far to find proof of the Bible’s doctrine of sin. Not only is the evidence all around us, it is within us. The great American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards once observed, “When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell.”
Today’s passage describes how sin entered the human race. Sin did not begin with God. Satan first introduced sin to mankind, acting through the serpent (cf. Rev. 12:9). Sin then passed on to the rest of humanity through Adam’s disobedience.
Adam did not act for himself alone when he chose to ignore God’s warning and accept the forbidden fruit from his wife Eve. Eve was deceived by Satan’s false promise, but Adam was not. He disobeyed God’s command knowingly and willingly (1 Tim. 2:14).
Satan’s suggestion to Eve that she eat from the forbidden tree shows that sin existed before Adam fell. In a sense, sin was a foreign agent introduced into human experience from the outside. In their original state Adam and Eve were without sin. After they disobeyed, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened as Satan had promised. But instead of becoming like God, they experienced a mutual sense of shame and alienation (v. 7).
The experience of Adam and Eve helps us to understand the nature of sin. Sin begins with desire before it expresses itself in action (James 1:13–15). Jesus warned that sin first takes root in the heart (Matt. 5:28). Satan’s basic strategy has not changed since the first temptation. Temptation always calls God’s goodness into question and invites us to step outside the bounds He has set to find contentment. Temptation always promises what it cannot deliver.
Apply the Word
Are you struggling with sin today? Then take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Accept the invitation expressed in Joseph Hart’s classic hymn: “Come, ye weary, heavy laden, / Lost and ruined by the fall; / If you tarry till you’re better, / You will never come at all.”