1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.…
Adam, as used in this passage, is, so far as we shall regard it, only a synonym for sinfulness.
1. We assume that human nature is sinful. The degree of this sinfulness, I care nothing about. Look wherever you may and you will find the trace and evidence of deep depravity.
2. Note also that there is no sin without a sinner. Sin is not a vague, weird, devil-like shadow, which no one can grasp and define; it is a palpable fact. Whenever you find it, you find it in the shape of a deed done by some doer.
3. Human nature in its rudiments is precisely what it has always been; the world in the aggregate is just what it was a thousand years ago. We flush to the same wicked passions to-day that flamed in the lusts of our fathers. The old Adam still lives, sins, dies. If you demand proof, I point to your gaols, to your gallows, to yourselves.
4. There are those who do not resist temptation; some because they have never been successful in their resistance, and hence despair has entered into their souls. When Satan has threaded the very fibres of hope out of man, he has won a triumph indeed. The gambler that can take another's money, and feel no compunction, illustrates how thoroughly sin can get the mastery of a human being. Such people are dead in trespasses and sins. You run a pin into your body and you scream because it is a live body. And so, while conscience is alive, the thrust of a wicked thought through it causes exquisite torture. But when one can lie, and steal, and be drunken — when these barbed iniquities can be driven day by day into the very centre of a man's life, and conscience receives the stab without a spasm — then is it dead. Hence, sin is moral suicide. This is what men mean by the phrase: "He has no conscience."
5. All sin is a sin against God. He stands embodied in every creation that He has made. Sin is an electric current, and it matters not along what wire the shock of it is delivered, it finally enters His breast. Do you wonder that He is quick to interpret the insult? Does not a mother resent any injury done to her child? Whoever sins against himself sins against God. For all that makes us to differ from the beasts of the field is the Divinity within us.
6. We can never know how evil sin is, because we cannot measure the evil it works. And this because we cannot know how sublime are the possibilities in the nature which it destroys. He who without cause breaks a bud from a stem, has done a deed the evil of which we can measure. He has destroyed a rose. But he who murders a child has done a deed the sin of which we cannot measure; for we cannot tell how much good that child might have done. Much less can you measure the evil which sin works when it destroys a soul. For none, save God, knows what are the possibilities of a soul. In front of all our sinfulness stands the great fact, staring us in the face, that we cannot keep it to ourselves. For whatever makes me worse, makes all worse who intimately know me. Nor is there any knowing where sin ends. The Bible says that parental transgressions lap over five generations. The tide of human life flows on still turbid and dark; and even the filter of Christianity seems incapable of purifying the unsightly stream. We have done nothing evil that is not to-day as chemically potent to darken the purity of the world, as on that day and at that hour when the sinful deed, or word, or imagination dropped, like a black globule, into it. The young vulture, once having broken its chain, or overflown the wire, returns no more. So it is with sin. Once out of our reach it is for ever beyond our control.
(W. H. H. Murray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.