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A Cure for the Terminally Ill

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 5:12–17

The Bible alone gives us a proper perspective on life and death. It explains the origin of sin, its universal impact, and the death it has brought to humanity. The Bible also gives us the solution to sin and death. The apostle Paul tells us the answer is in the life Christ gives us.


The first epidemic recorded in human history was called the “Black Death.” It would later be known as the bubonic plague. It went through China in the year 1346 and spread throughout India, Persia, Russia, and then into Europe. Before it was over, millions of people became infected, their throats swelling up, their bodies breaking out in black splotches; after a few days of high fever and pain, they would die. No medicine, no cure, no hope. It has been estimated that as many as 200 million people died. That was half the population of Europe.[1]

Beloved, there’s a plague of a different kind sweeping through every country today, and it is a far more deadly epidemic. In fact, everyone infected with it will die. It is a plague the Bible calls sin. The statistics have been consistent—one out of every one infected die!

Frankly, people do not want to talk about death. It is even rare to find someone who is willing to talk about growing old. I read a magazine article some time ago that carried some interviews with elderly people. One was the oldest living human at the time—she was 120 years old. I loved her humor. When she was asked to describe her vision for the future, she said, “Very brief.”

Another woman with a good sense of humor was asked about the benefits of living to her age of 102. She answered, “There’s no peer pressure.”

Well, most people do not want to talk about growing old and certainly not about dying. We would rather come up with ways to deny it, ignore it, or simply refuse to believe it is going to happen to us. But the truth remains, the human race is terminally infected with the disease of sin, and sin brings death.

The Bible gives us the only explanation for the origin of sin and the consequence of death, but the Bible also reveals that there is a solution. And as we sail back into Romans chapter 5, we discover the cure for both sin and death. Let me break this divine cure down into three truths we need to understand.

First, Adam initiated the universal epidemic of sin. We have now arrived at verse 12, where Paul writes, “Sin came into the world through one man”—that is, through Adam. Because of Adam’s defiance and disobedience, the epidemic of sin entered the world.

By the way, Paul uses the singular form of the word for “sin” here in verse 12. He is not talking about any one specific sin but of our propensity toward sin. We call it the sin nature.

King David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” Now he was not saying his mother was sinning when he was conceived but rather that David himself was a sinner at conception! “I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.” In other words, there is never a time in anyone’s life when that person does not possess Adam’s fallen, sinful nature—we all inherited it, beginning at conception.

Here is the second truth: The epidemic of sin that Adam initiated is universal and terminal!

Paul writes in verse 12, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Sin came into the world through Adam, then death came in. The Greek verb “came in” was used of someone entering a house through a door that has been opened. So let me paraphrase verse 12 this way: “Adam opened the door to the house where all of humanity would live, and he invited sin to come in. So, sin came in but then stopped and held the door open so that death could slip in too.”

Paul seems to anticipate someone saying, “But the law was not given until Moses delivered it; so, how can a person be considered a sinner without the law of Moses?”

Paul answers that in verses 13 and 14, basically saying, “Mankind has always known when they are violating the law of God.” And I assure you, beloved, no matter where you go, even back into the most remote regions of the earth, people know it is wrong to steal their neighbor’s chicken or their neighbor’s wife.

And here is the proof: Between the time of Adam and Moses—even before the law was delivered—people were accountable to God and were dying as a consequence of their sin.

So, we inherited this epidemic of sin from our forefather, Adam. Paul explains that sin and death are based on the headship of Adam. We inherited his fallen nature.

But here is the good news—verse 17:

If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Did you catch the contrast? In Adam you have the reign of death. In Christ you have the reign of life. Adam, as the head of the human race, sinned. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, did not sin. Adam’s race is bound to die; Christ’s redeemed race is free to live forever with God in heaven.

And that is the third truth to consider in this divine cure: Jesus Christ is the antidote for terminal humanity! Verses 15-16:

For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

You could take your pencil and underline three times the revelation given here that this antidote, this cure, is free. Free, free, free through Christ. But what about physical death? We cannot avoid that, can we? No, that is the penalty for sin. But through faith in Christ and His forgiveness of our sin, I can tell you what death becomes. Death becomes the hand that opens heaven’s door.

The cause of sin was the first Adam; the cure for sin is the second Adam. The human race belonging to Adam is terminally infected. The redeemed race belonging to Jesus Christ is eternally healed. By His stripes, Isaiah prophesied, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Think of it this way: you were born into a funeral procession, but through faith in Jesus Christ, you have become the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7). When you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you leave the funeral procession and join the wedding procession.

In fact, you are heading for a wedding reception right now. It is going to be like one of those sit-down dinner affairs that cost some family a fortune. The Bible describes a future marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19, where our union with Christ will be celebrated. And all the wedding expenses for that reception have already been paid in full by the grace of God.

So which race do you belong to today? Is it Adam’s race, infected and terminally ill with sin? Or have you believed in Christ and by receiving Him as your Savior become a child of God, as John chapter 1 and verse 12 tells us?

Are you a still just a child of Adam, or have you become a child of God? You were born first into the family of Adam. You must be born again into the family of God. And that new birth takes place when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and He gives you the cure, the ultimate escape—the free gift of salvation.

[1] “Black Death,”

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