- [1 Cor 15:45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
- [1 Cor 15:47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
- [Rom 5:18] Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
The Bible tells about two men that stand head and shoulders above all the rest, in terms of their influence on the human family. The first is Adam; the second is the Lord Jesus Christ. Most of us understand the influence of the Lord Jesus, but what about Adam?
The New England Primer was used to teach colonial American children to read. (It’s too bad that we still don’t use it.) For each letter of the alphabet, the primer had a rhyming verse. Many of these little poems reflected the high regard for the Bible that Americans had back in those days. The verse for the letter ‘B’, beside a picture of the Bible was, ‘Thy Life to mend, This book attend.’. For ‘H’, the verse was, ‘My Book and Heart, Shall never part.’ Other verses emphasized Scriptural doctrines such as the transitory nature of life, as for ‘G’: ‘As runs the [hour] Glass, Man’s Life doth pass.’
The reason I introduce the Primer here, however, is the verse for the letter ‘A’:
In Adam’s fall, We sinned all.
I wonder how many adult church members today understand the theology that beginning readers were taught in colonial days. This happens to be a concise summary of a substantial section of Romans 5 and the reason Adam is the other person who most greatly affected our race.
Before Adam sinned, earth was a paradise -- a place of delight and bliss -- where nothing was corrupted. Things were the way God intended them to be. But when Adam disobeyed God, it plunged all creation into ruin, and brought a curse upon mankind. Romans 8:22 says, ‘For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now’. Adam was the head of the human race, and all of his descendents inherited from him a sin nature. The curse of his sin was propagated to all. [Rom 5:12] ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin’. That’s why the children were taught, ‘In Adam’s fall, we sinned all’.
The only way God could solve that problem was to start over and create a new race of men on earth. That new race had to have a new man to head it up, one that was not cursed and defiled by Adam’s sin; that man was the Lord Jesus Christ. The analogy between Adam and Christ is so close, in fact, that the Lord Jesus is called the last Adam: [1 Cor 15:45] ‘And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit’. And yet the last Adam had no sin: [Heb 4:15] ‘For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’.
The Bible divides men into two classes, those that are ‘in Adam’, and those that are ‘in Christ’. [1 Cor 15:22] ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ All of us, the day we entered this life, were in Adam. But the day that we were born again -- born from above, regenerated -- we ceased to be in Adam, and are now in Christ. Judicially, in God’s sight, we died with the Lord Jesus on the cross, were buried with Him, and are resurrected in Christ. We were identified with Him. We are in Him.
As we inherited mortality from the first Adam, we have eternal life from the last Adam. [Rom 5:15b] ‘For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many’. We can praise God that the ‘gift by grace’ provides us with not only life out of death, but righteousness out of unrighteousness. [Rom 5:19] ‘For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous’.
Note that the Lord Jesus is called the last Adam, but the second man. [1 Cor 15:47] ‘The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven’. Why the last Adam, but the second man?
He is the last Adam, because there will never be another man that heads up a whole new race on earth as Adam and Christ have done. But since the Lord Jesus is the head of a new race of men who will all have new, glorified bodies such as He now has, He is only the second man. There will be more like Him.
Adam had a glorified body before he sinned and lost it. He was the first man. The Lord received a glorified body when He was resurrected. And all that are in Him will receive glorified bodies when He comes back to earth. There will be a third man, a forth man, etc. [1 John 3:2] ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is’. [Phil 3:21] ‘Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself’’. [Col 3:4] ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory’.
What an awesome thought, that believers will someday reign with Him, clothed in a body just like His! But the tragic fact is that many people, even on church membership rolls, are still in the first Adam. That was true of me for 26 years. Dear reader, are you sure that you are in Christ, and that the promise is for you?