Here’s part THREE of the four part booklet – The Two Adams, by Homer D. Baxter. This is the first half of Part II – with the last half of it (or the final quarter) to come next week. A fitting topic (The SECOND Adam) to present here this weekend where we celebrate the Resurrection of our Messiah!
As noted in the introduction, the second Adam is Jesus Christ, the first Adam being “a figure of him that was to come.” Before anything or person can be a figure of another there must be a likeness of one to the other. The dictionary meaning of a figure, in Scriptural terms is : “a likeness; an image; a person, thing, or action representative of another.” Then, since Adam was a figure of Christ there must be a likeness of the two. It is quite generally agreed upon by Biblical students that Jesus was placed on the same grounds, footing, or position which Adam occupied before he sinned. Too many people get the idea that Jesus was beyond the reach of humanity; beyond human feelings and subjections.
Some of the likenesses are here given, with the noted difference later.
First, both Adams were unique in their beginnings. Adam was the only man ever to be created directly from the earth; Christ was the only man ever to be begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of a woman.
Second, the first Adam was made head of the human race, with dominion over all; Christ is the Head of the redeemed race, and shall have complete dominion.
Third, Adam was to begin in the garden of Eden and populate the whole earth (Gen. 1:28); Christ, through the Word and Spirit in his disciples, was to begin “in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Fourth, both Adam and Christ were tempted, tried, tested, and died.
Fifth, the same three channels through which all sin comes were in evidence in Eden, to Christ in the wilderness, and to the world today.
“For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, are not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16).
In the Garden of Eden, Eve saw, she took, and she ate. So did Adam, who was with her all the while (Gen. 3:6).
In the wilderness Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread – an appeal to the flesh. He was tempted to jump from the top of the Temple to test his Sonship with God – an appeal to the pride of life. He was shown the glory of all the kingdoms of the world and tempted to worship the devil to gain those kingdoms – an appeal to the eyes.
Some contend that it was impossible for Christ to have sinned; to have disobeyed God. If this be true, then what did he overcome? Why should he have been tempted at all? One cannot be tempted who is beyond the reach of sin. James says that God “cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). More than once Jesus urged his disciples to “overcome the world” and to do as he had done, “even as I also overcame” (John 16:3; Rev. 3:21).
Furthermore, Jesus was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He also had to learn obedience before He could become perfect and qualified to be the author of eternal salvation. This is evidenced in Hebrews 5:8-9: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
If it had been impossible for Jesus to have committed any wrong, then why should our salvation depend upon his learning to obey? Just like the first Adam, Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (Psalms 8:5; Heb. 2:9). For indeed, it is written that Jesus did not take it on himself the nature of angels, but the seed or nature of Abraham (Heb. 2:16).
The greatest difference between the two Adams was not so much in who they were, but in what they did. This difference qualified the second Adam to become the world’s Redeemer. When John was baptizing in the River Jordan and saw Jesus approaching he cried out: “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The SIN of the world is disobedience. Through disobedience of the first Adam the channels of sins were opened. Jesus overcame these channels by completely obeying God. Please keep in mind Romans 5:12: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” “By one man!” Through disobedience! It was not what Adam was that sin entered into the world, but what he did! The reason no man begotten by man could redeem the world is that all such begotten and born were under the same curse of sin and death (Psalms 51:5). Sin cannot beget righteousness, just as corruption cannot beget incorruption, nor can mortality beget immortality, nor through corruption can one inherit incorruption (1 Cor. 15:50). It was the male specie which transmits life to the child, while the female provides the body.
Therefore the necessity that man’s Redeemer be begotten by the Holy Spirit, yet born of a woman. A righteous life in a mortal body. This would place Jesus upon an equality with the first Adam, before he sinned; a perfect, sinless, and holy man. However, Jesus had one disadvantage. He was born into a world already sinful. Notice carefully the contrasts between the first and second Adams in Romans 5:15-21:
(1) Through the “offence of ONE man many be dead;” through the gift of “grace by ONE man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many.”
(2) Verse 16: “For the judgment was by ONE to condemnation;” but the free gift “Of many offences unto justification.”
(3) Verse 17: “For if by ONE man’s offence death reigned by one….the gift of righteousness of ONE, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
(4) Verse 18: “For as by ONE man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE shall many be made righteous.”
(5) Verse 21: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Paul very strongly emphasizes the difference between the two Adams in terms like these:
ADAM: Disobedience, sin, condemnation, offences, judgment, DEATH.
CHRIST: Obedience, grace, gift, justification, righteousness, LIFE.
We repeat that the Apostle Paul does not dwell upon what or who the two Adams were, but what each did which made the difference in the result. The whole field of sin and salvation may be summed up in two words: Disobedience and Obedience.
Let us notice the final result of sin: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth for sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).
(1) Death came as a result of disobedience (Rom 5:12).
(2) Death is an appointment of God as a penalty for sin and not as an award for righteousness (Gen. 2:17; Heb. 9:27).
(3) Death is an enemy and shall be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26).
(4) Death is a dishonor to God; it is a constant reminder that man disobeyed his Creator (1 Cor. 15:43).
(5) Death brings sorrow and weeping. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (Psalms 18:4, John 11:35).
(6) Death comes to the soul (Ezekiel 18:4; Matt. 26:38; James 5:21).
(7) Death is the wages for sin (Rom. 6:23).
(8) Death has a sting (1 Cor. 15:56).
(9) Death produces unconsciousness (Eccl. 9:5).
One should be careful about calling death the “gateway to glory’ or the voice of Jesus. Are God and death in partnership? Does God use an enemy, something which is a dishonor, and the penalty of sin to carry out His mission of taking His people to their rewards?
Too many refer to Psalms 23:4 and interpret it to mean people walk through death into eternal glory. But it is not death through which people walk, but the “valley of the shadow” of death. One might easily walk through the shadow of a tree, but would be foolish to attempt walking through the tree itself. Death casts a shadow over the entire world. The moment a child is born it is subject to death. Certainly, David as a shepherd, did not lead dead sheep through the dark valleys.
Since death was, and still is, the penalty for sin, Christ died to redeem us from sin and its results. Thereby he lifted the curse of Adam’s transgression from the whole human race, and makes each individual responsible for his own personal sins. The second death will come to those whose sins have not been remitted, because no one has died to redeem from an eternal death, nor could one do so.
(coming next – the conclusion – Part 4 of 4, Christ’s Return)