From a sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14:
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
We are born into the world in union with the human race. We are born in union with the creation. We are born in union with Adam. What that means is that we are born into “original sin.” The sin that is in the world can be seen in two ways. First of all, the guilt and corruption of sin is attached to all people since Adam and Eve rebelled. The Bible calls this our union with Adam.
Romans 5:17 – For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Let me give you an example. Suppose you played for a team that won the championship. Let’s say this is the year Green Bay wins the Super Bowl. You, however, while on the team, did not play. You were the 2nd backup quarterback. Aaron Rogers stays healthy, and they put in the 1st back up once or twice, but all you ever did was practice. Yet even though you did not play, because you are a member of the team, you get a Super Bowl ring. There is power in being united to a team.
We are born onto a losing team – Adam’s team. When we are in union with him, all the wages of sin are due for us. But here is the blessing God chooses to unite us to Christ. So because we are one of His, we gain all the benefits of salvation. Our 3rd string quarterback did not play a single snap to win his ring. We did not do anything to earn salvation.