Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For 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. (Romans 5:18-19 ESV)
For a good friend (thanks for the chat)...
Can a person's lifestyle condemn them?
In God's eyes, it is not behavior that condemns a person.
Condemnation is the judgment declared by God for the trespass of one man, Adam. The rest of us were born condemned; God established that as well. Condemnation is not the result of personal sin, whether bad choices, disagreeable lifestyles, or immoral behavior. We cannot become condemned any more than we can decide to be born. Truth is, we didn't decide to be born. In the same way, we didn't become condemn by our decisions or actions. Everyone born of Adam is condemned. One trespass led to condemnation for all. One man's disobedience made us all sinners.
Justification, on the other hand, is the righteousness that comes only from God. It is made available to us as a gift because of the righteous deeds of another man, Jesus Christ. Jesus was not "born of Adam," and, therefore, was not born condemned. Justification is not, and cannot be, the result of moral behavior, good choices (except one*), decent living, loving others, judging others, or hating sin. We are not justified based on what we do. All the work required to live a righteous life acceptable to God was lived by that one man, Jesus Christ. Through His righteousness we have justification and life. By His obedience, we are made righteous.
* What is the one "good choice?" God declared a simple solution to go from condemnation to justification; believe in His only Son, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. That's it; choose to believe in Him and the sacrifice He made on your behalf, which means to trust Him for your soul's salvation. Humbly turn the responsibility over to Him and rest in Him. There is nothing at all any person can do to earn salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith, a gift of God, not of works.
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5)
Adam disobeyed God by his own free will. Yet, we all are paying the price as God declared: in Adam, we were all born condemned. From God's perspective, no one is better than anyone else or has any advantage. So why do we think a behavior or lifestyle is going to make a difference?
Christ obeyed God, His Father, on His own free will. In Him, we can be born again to justification. No one is disqualified because of what they did or did not do; anyone can be saved. This is life, the new life, which is reconciliation to God, and God set the standard for that life.
He made this offer because He "so loved the world." He "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4)
Don't reject Him because of what arrogant people say and do. Accept His pure love, motivation, mercy and grace because of what He has said and done for you.
Trust Him for the salvation of your soul. It's your choice to accept His offer. You'll be glad you did.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” Romans 5:18 ESV
Think about it...
If you are already condemned at birth, how could you possibly do something to earn condemnation afterwards? Can you become more condemned? Of course not. If you have a sin nature because you were born in sin (through Adam), you cannot get a sin nature from sins you personally commit. Everybody is already a sinner at birth. There is no earning the title.
It would be like earning a belly button after you are born. Your belly button is there because you were born with it. There is nothing anyone could do to earn or deserve a belly button.
Likewise, you cannot do anything righteous because that is not who you are at birth. It's not in your nature to be or do anything that would cause God to take notice. And He knows this. He doesn't expect you to do anything to earn righteousness. It cannot be done. What He can do, and does in salvation, is give you His. The righteousness that God requires is the one He gives you by grace through faith. It is a gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.
In fact, if you are working or trying to earn your salvation or a righteous standing before God, that is the same as refusing the gift. It's as if He is trying to freely give you something and you're insisting you need to do something for it. When you truly understand this gift giving, then your soul can truly be at rest, as in the title of this blog: "you will find rest for your soul." (Matthew 11:29)
Think about it some more...
Absolutely, you are responsible for your own sin. But in Romans 5:12, "All sinned" is not separate or new information than Romans 5:18 (quoted above). The point Paul is making is that sin came into the world and was spread to all people through one man, Adam. Another way to say the same thing is condemnation came into the world and was imputed to all people through one man, Adam.
What then would be the difference between personal sinning before one is saved and after one is saved? Does either condemn a person? No, absolutely not. One who is not saved is already born condemned before they even commit a personal sin. One who is saved through justification in Christ cannot become condemned.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
No one earns salvation. Can anyone reduce their personal sin enough so that God would say, "Okay, that's good enough, you're saved." Likewise, can one increase their personal sin enough to become condemned after they are saved? No, since salvation and justification are based on the works of God, one's behavior cannot undo what God has done. Hypothetically, if a person born in Adam never committed a personal sin, they would still be just as condemned at birth and in need of a Savior..
Besides, people both lost and saved alike commit personal sins. Those actions don't change their status of being lost or saved. Both condemnation and justification are on God's terms, not ours. If God declares in His word people are condemned at birth, and that salvation is a gift, then it must be so.
Christ already paid the full price for everyone's sins because "He is the propitiation for our sins, but not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). And He, in Christ, is "reconciling the world to Himself, not counting man's trespassing against them" (2 Cor 5:19).
Now THAT'S Good News!