This lesson, taken from Romans 5, uses modern terms to explain original sin. This is an important concept which, unfortunately, is often omitted from children’s curricula.
We know that we are all sinners and that this is the reason Jesus came to die for us. Remember that the wages, or payment, for sin is death. But where did sin come from? Romans says, “sin entered the world through one man.” Does it seem fair that Adam’s sin makes us all sinners? But that’s exactly what happened. Think of sin as a genetic disease. What are “genes”? Our genes make us what we are. We get them from our parents, and they tell our bodies what color our skin should be and what shape our eyes should be and what kind of hair we have, and how tall we should grow. They tell us what we will be good at and what we will not be so good at. Did anyone ever tell you that you look like your mom or like your dad? People might even see your grandparents or aunts or uncles in you. All the good things that you like about yourself you inherited from your parents. Also, all the bad things that you don’t like so much came from your parents! I inherited allergies and a genetic condition called Celiac disease from my parents. There are many conditions and diseases you can inherit from your parents. The most deadly genetic disease that everyone gets from their parents is SIN!
Think about it. You inherited your genes from your parents, but those genes didn’t start with your parents, did they? They inherited their genes from your grandparents. Your grandparents inherited their genes from your great-grandparents. You can trace all genetic material right back to Adam. Even Eve got her genes from Adam, since she was made from Adam’s rib. So the truth is, all the genes in your body came directly from Adam. You could even say that you were there, inside Adam’s body, when he sinned in the Garden of Eden. So was I, and so was everyone who has ever been born. And that’s why we are all sinners. Because we are all part of Adam.
That could sound pretty hopeless, couldn’t it? You can’t change who you are, no matter how hard you try. You could dye your hair a different color, but your hair would grow back out the color you were meant to have. You could cover your blue eyes up with contact lenses that make them look brown, but underneath your eyes would still be blue. You can refuse to sing, but if you have a beautiful voice it will still be beautiful whether you use it or not. I can avoid eating the things that make me sick, but I can’t stop having Celiac disease. And we can’t stop being sinners, no matter how hard we try to be good.
But Paul did not write this letter to the Romans to make them feel sad! Here is what he says: “For if the many died by the sin of the one man, (Adam) how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many.” In other words, Adam’s sin brought death to the whole world, but Jesus’ death brought life to the whole world. Here’s another thing Paul says: “Just as the result of one sin was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Adam’s sin made us all sinners, but Jesus’ death paid for all the sins ever committed by anyone, from Adam until the end of time. He took our sin upon Himself on the cross, and He gives us His very own righteousness. Not a very even trade, is it? But He makes this trade with us because He loves us. So, what do we have to do to trade our sin for Jesus’ righteousness? Just believe in Him. It really is that easy.
So, if it’s really that easy, why isn’t everyone a Christian? Because here’s the catch, kids: Jesus doesn’t force us to accept this trade. If we want to continue to live in our sins, He lets us. If we don’t want to live with Him forever, He doesn’t make us. He promised us free will when He created Adam and Eve, and He doesn’t break His promise. If you don’t want anything to do with God, He lets you make that decision. He will do all He can to try to change your mind, but He lets you decide. That’s why not everyone is saved. That’s why we need to try to help people understand what being a Christian really is all about. We want to help them make the right decision.