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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am Service, 2005-04-10

Text: Romans 5:12

Last Sunday we began a new series of messages on the theme, 'Making Known His Glorious Salvation.' In order to make God's salvation known, we first need to understand the need for salvation. We need to know why this salvation was necessary in the first place. During an evangelistic campaign held by a certain church there was a banner placed in front of the church that read, 'Jesus is the Answer!' One person who happened to pass by the church saw the banner and said to his friend who was with him, 'This banner says that Jesus is the answer. But what is the question?' 

That is one of the most fundamental things that we need to ask in this life: What is the question or problem that Jesus is the answer for? Some may even question whether there really is any problem at all. But I think that most thinking people who are aware of what is happening around them will not doubt that there is a problem to solve because of all the misery and strife in the world that is plain for all to see. This world would obviously be a better place to live in if there were no wars, crimes and conflicts. And it is evident that much of the suffering of mankind is caused not by nature, but by man himself. 

There is never a day that goes by without some news reports of robberies, murders, cheating, kidnappings and immoral activity. Not too long ago a Singaporean couple in Australia was convicted for trying to poison their own children. Just yesterday, we had a shocking revelation from the front page article in the Today newspaper about clubs in Singapore for unbridled lust and sexual sin. The fact that every country in the world has courts of law and prisons, and every bank has a security guard and closed circuit TV cameras, and every home has a gate that can be locked securely reveals to us that a problem really exists. 

And this is a problem that is found only wherever human beings can be found. Therefore, it is a human problem. That is certainly quite obvious to all. But what is not so obvious to all is the nature of this human problem. Where does it come from? What is the real cause behind it? And what is the extent of this problem in man? Not all are able to answer these questions, and hence not all are able to understand the exact nature of this human problem. Many people, when confronted with some wrongdoing, refuse to admit that they have a problem. They try instead to find something or someone else to bear the blame for it. Some blame their upbringing or their circumstances. 

Some would even try to excuse themselves by saying in a most flippant manner, 'The devil made me do it.' As long as the nature of this human problem is not understood, no remedy to it can ever be found. It is just like medical care: as long as a raging sickness is not properly and accurately diagnosed, it can never ever be cured. And so we first need to diagnose the problem, and find out exactly what its nature is and how bad it really is.

As we look now into the Word of God, we will find that the diagnosis of the human problem is summed up very nicely in Romans 5:12 '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.' The first thing that is revealed here about the human problem is:

I. Its Origin

'as by one man sin entered into the world' And the first thing we can learn from this is that the human problem was originally non-existent in this world. It began to exist only at the point when sin entered into the world. But before sin entered, the world was as perfect as it was on the day that God created it. It was a perfect world without the slightest defect. 

But the world did not remain in this original state for long. As our scripture text mentions, there came a distinct point in time when sin entered into the world. Just like a dreadful infection, sin made its entrance into the world, and brought an end to its original perfection. And just as an infectious disease is often introduced by a vector or carrier, sin infected the world through the agency of one man. 

That man was of course Adam, the first man whom God had created out of the dust of the ground. Now, Adam was not alone, for God had made a helpmeet for him called Eve. And they lived in the Garden of Eden which was truly a Paradise where they could fellowship freely with God without any fear at all. And as they exercised the dominion God gave them over His creatures, their hearts would glorify God for all the marvellous things they discovered in God's handiwork and enjoy sweet communion with God as they walked with Him.

This was God's plan when He created man in His image. But that plan was not fulfilled because man fell into sin. Adam and Eve, given the absolute freedom of choice to exercise their own wills, chose to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit. 

This single act of disobedience brought the perfection of Creation to an inglorious end, because by deliberately choosing to break the commandment that God had given to him, man had now introduced sin into the world. This original sin is the ultimate source of all the present sorrows that we see in the world today. Every thing that is unpleasant in man's life, every agonizing loss that man endures, every corrupting process that overpowers him, can be traced to this one source - the Fall of man. Dear friends, there has never been any event in all human history that has had such a damaging impact on the world, than the Fall of Man! 

II. Its Impact

We shall now proceed to examine its impact under two categories. Firstly,

A. On All Men

Our scripture text in Romans 5:12 says that, '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.' The emphasis that is placed on the word 'all' in this verse brings out the universality of the infection - sin has infected every single man, woman and child who has ever lived! This is because Adam's fall has brought all his descendants into a state of sin. The Bible bears witness to this: Not long after Adam's fall, Cain murdered Abel (Genesis 4:8), and a few generations later, Lamech married two wives and slew a man. Two chapters later, the situation was so bad that drastic measures were needed to stem the infection. God had to send a worldwide Flood to deal with the fast-multiplying problem of sin. 

And even after that Flood, when mankind was given a second chance to start all over again through Noah's family, sin soon reared its ugly head again as his descendants attempted to build the Tower of Babel. God had to stop their rebellion by confusing their speech so that they would disperse throughout the world. And as mankind settled in every corner of the world the same sinful nature was soon manifested in every place. It became a permanent feature of the human race - wherever man is found there would be sin. Today we see it in daily life anywhere in the world - you will always find the same hatred, anger, jealousy, greed, pride and lust.

The prophet Isaiah described the universality of sin like this: 'All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.' (Isaiah 53:6) And even from the time a person is born, he already begins to manifest the sinful nature. King David testified in Psalm 51:5, 'Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.'

Dear friends, what this means is that everyone, you and I included, are born in sin. Now, the impact of sin is not only in the fact that it affects all men. We are now going to examine the impact that sin has:

B. On Each Man

What is the extent of sin's impact on the life of each individual person? The Word of God informs us that it is actually total! Man became a totally depraved creature. Genesis 6:5 records, 'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.' 

Jeremiah 17:9 reiterates the total depravity of man, 'The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?' Now, when we speak of man as being totally depraved, we do not mean that each and every person is as totally or as completely corrupt in his actions and thoughts as he can possibly be. It does not mean that every person will commit every form of sin that can be committed in his lifetime. Instead the word 'total,' indicates that man's sin problem has adverse effects upon every aspect of his being (physical, mental, moral, social and emotional). We shall now examine its effects on some key aspects of man's being:

III. Its Effects on Man

A. On The Will of Man

Man is still free to choose - every person makes choices through life and we are not robots. But inasmuch as all men are born with sinful natures, they have no ability to choose spiritual good over evil. The will of man is now dominated by sin. As Jesus said in John 8:34, 'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [Greek: doulos = slave] of sin.' Now, besides the effects of sin on the will of man, there are also its effects:

B. On The Mind of Man

Because of the power of sin, all men are blind and deaf to spiritual truth. They are unable to comprehend it because their minds are darkened by sin. The Apostle Paul in Romans 3:11 says, 'There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.' In Ephesians 2, Paul says that we are dead in trespasses and sins (v.1 'And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins' v.5 'Even when we were dead in sins'). Now, things that are dead have absolutely no ability to hear and respond. 

You may scream as loud as you can at a dead body, pinch it, shake it and still not get the slightest response from it. That is what sin has done to us - it has made us spiritually unresponsive. In this state, man is absolutely helpless in spiritual matters, and so whatever he attempts to do in order to gain eternal life through his own human efforts are in vain. This brings us to the next effect of sin:

C. On The Works of Man

Now, many unsaved people, when judged by human standards, do possess admirable and remarkable qualities and do perform virtuous and selfless heroic acts. (There are many accounts of human kindness, heroism and self-sacrifice.) But in the spiritual realm, and when judged by God's standards, the unsaved sinner is incapable of doing good. As the prophet Isaiah says, 'But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags' (Isaiah 64:6).

It is because of this incapability to do what is good and righteous in God's sight that no one can ever be saved by his own good works. This is the very point where all the world's religions fail - they all assume that man can perform enough good works to gain him some merit in God's sight. E.g. in reforming himself, turning over a new leaf, donating to charity, self-denial.

There are some who think that a good education can change a man enough to put an end to sin in his life. But we know today that even the best educated person can be guilty of the worst crimes. Six years ago, there was a well-known kidnapping case in Singapore. The kidnapper turned out to be a man who had earned several university degrees! 

Others believe that well-planned rehabilitation programmes for criminals will deliver society from the evils of sin. But various studies have shown that the success rate of such programmes is not very encouraging. Many who go through them go right back to their old sins and crimes again, after they are released from prison. In fact, sometimes they are much worse than before - as they tend to gather new contacts with other die-hard offenders while undergoing these programmes.

The bottom line is that whatever works man may use to try to remove his sinful nature eventually fail. Why is this so? Because sin has already removed man's capability to gain any merit before God. As long as his heart remains sinful, whatever man does will always turn out to be defiled with sin. Jesus made this clear when He said, 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.' (Mark 7:21-23)

I am sure that when you see this effect of sin together with all the other two effects of sin ' its effects on the will, and on the mind, we can now better appreciate the awful extent to which sin has affected our life in this world. What terrible effects sin has had on each of us! And that is not all. We shall now see that sin not only affects our life, it also destroys our life, for the ultimate, end result of sin is death!

IV. Its Ultimate Result

This can be seen in the two occurrences of the word 'death' in our scripture text in Romans 5:12 that says, '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.' This death is not merely a physical one, but also a spiritual and eternal death. The ultimate result of sin in every sinner's life is to die a horrible never-ending death in a place called Hell. Our Lord Jesus described hell in the most unpleasant terms: 'it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' (Mark 9:47-48). 

What a terrible end of untold suffering and pain awaits every sinner because of sin! Dear friends, if you have not turned to Jesus Christ yet, I have this to tell you: This will definitely be the ultimate result of all your sins. You will suffer alone for ever in the eternal flames of hell (hell is a place of separation, so there will be no 'fellowship' with fellow sufferers there!). If you could only have just a glimpse of the horrible pain and suffering that sin will cause to those in hell, I assure you that you will want to do everything you can, and give everything you have, just to find a remedy for your sin. 

V. Its Remedy

Can such a remedy be found? Yes! The remedy is revealed 3 verses later in our text of Romans 5. Look at v.15 'But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.' The complete remedy for the human problem of sin came by one man - Jesus Christ. 

Since sin had come into the world through just one man - Adam, so salvation also came into the world through just one man - the man Christ Jesus! There is really no one who can provide a better remedy for your sin than the Lord Jesus Christ. He will remove your sin from you and replace it with His own righteousness. He will cleanse your soul completely from all sin, so that you will be able to stand faultless before God. He will take away the turmoil and fear that sin produces in your life, and replace them with the peace of God that passes all understanding. The remedy that Jesus gives is so effective to deal with sin that those who are treated with it are completely delivered. Sin can never claim their lives anymore with hellfire. 

Dear friends, if you are still in your sins, I really want to urge you to avail yourself of this remedy right now. Why do you still want to wait? You have the guarantee of God Himself that it will work most effectively to deal with the impact, the effects and the ultimate result of sin in your life. Come to Him right now. 

And if you have already received the remedy for your sin from Jesus then you must now live for Him who died on the cross for you, and trust Him for grace to live a life that is no longer yielded to sin, but yielded fully to Him.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11