Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14 ESV)
Romans 5 is a fascinating chapter as Paul gives us the doctrine of original sin. He shows how death came to all people through the one act of disobedience (eating the forbidden fruit). To prove that this is indeed the case he points out how all people died (death remember is a consequence of the fall) between the time of Adam and Moses. That is significant because there was no stated law from God for the people during this time, other than the prohibition of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which was hidden since Adam. You can’t be punished from a legal standpoint for doing something wrong unless there is a specific law that was broken. Without any law on the books, so to speak, between the time of Adam and Moses, the death and judgment that fell upon the people is because Adam’s guilt was imputed to his children. They inherited not only his proneness to sin, but also the guilt of his sin.
Paul explains this so we might understand how imputation works. If we don’t get it, the. We won’t understand the gospel because it comes in a similar way. Just as those between Adam and Moses were not condemned for their own acts, we are not justified by our own acts. They inherited death, while we (who have faith in Jesus) inherit life.
Does Jesus’ righteousness belong to you?
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 1 Sa 5-6, Ro 5, Jer 43, Lk 12