Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just 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. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The narrative of the Bible is Jesus’ sacrifice overcoming the power of the flesh, or the curse that Adam brought upon humanity. Without Christ, we tend towards evil even when all of our actions are morally neutral. Our bodies are governed by the flesh because God cannot reside in an unclean place.
God sent many people to lead us back to him. Think of how many times God is looking for “one righteous man:” Noah, Lot, Josiah. The theme that runs throughout scripture is the many saved (or destroyed) by the actions of one. Jesus is the one who succeeded. But in order to fulfill the responsibility that all others had failed, he had to be man. So, let’s return to the question that we asked at the beginning of the week: Who am I? What part of me is me, the real and true me? We are God’s handiwork, created in his image to do good work. When we reject sin and ask God to take up residence in our hearts, we scourge the influence of the flesh and invite the Holy Spirit to restore us to the beings God intended.