We have been, obviously, giving honor to our Lord Jesus Christ for His resurrection from the dead. He conquered death, not only for Himself, but for all His people, all who believe in Him. This is the glorious gospel which we proclaim, that Jesus came into the world to give life, life abundant, and life eternal to all those who believe in Him.
The apostle Paul wrote a lot about the gospel. Perhaps the heart of what he wrote could be found in the book of Romans, and in that book he speaks about the fact that Christ, in His one act of dying, provided salvation for all His people. Reaching forward to history yet to come, reaching backward to history already completed, the one act of Christ on the cross provided salvation for all who would ever believe in God genuinely through all of human history. That poses a very significant question: “How is it that one man could do one act and have such a massive effect on millions and millions of people?” Paul answers that by saying, “You should already know that,” and his answer comes in Romans 5.
I want to invite you to turn Romans, chapter 5 – we began to look at it on Friday night – and I want you to see how he demonstrates that the act of one man can affect many, in fact, all men. He makes a comparison between the one act of Christ and the one act of Adam. In verse 12 he says, “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
How can one act by one man affect so many? Paul’s answer is, “One act by one man, Adam, one sin committed by Adam poured pollution and corruption into the human stream so that every human being born in all of human history is cursed with sin and headed for death.” The proof, that we are all sinners: we die, all of us. No one escapes. Adam, by his one act, impacted the entire human race. Adam, by God’s design, was the representative for the whole of mankind. What he did affected all of us. The proof: we all sin. The proof: we all die. Adam’s one sin caused all the human race to fall into corruption, sin, and death. This explains life as we know it.
Originally, Genesis 1 and 2 says, “God created everything and it was good, it was very good.” That’s Genesis 1 and 2. And then in Genesis 3, Adam sins and everything becomes bad, very bad. The result of that one sin; we’re all sinners, we’re all dying. Sin became so rampant that by the sixth chapter of Genesis, God looks at the world and sees only evil continually and drowns the entire human race, except for eight people. They started over again, but they were sinners and sin kept moving, and all people kept dying.
It is the sin of Adam that explains the world. All evil, all iniquity, all sin is because of Adam’s sin. All illness, all disease, all infirmity is because of Adam’s sin. In fact, it touches every area of life. Even in the physical world, the law of entropy, that things are breaking down. Out of every transaction of energy there is waste, and we have to articulate that waste, understand it, and deal with it. What that means is that in the Garden when Adam originally was living in the presence of God before he sinned, he could eat anything in the Garden, and 100 percent of what he ate would be transferred into energy with no waste.
Since the Fall, there is waste, and we have a world full of it. We have to constantly account for it. We have a world full of crime, lawlessness, law-breaking. We have to constantly create systems of jurisprudence, that deal with stopping people from committing crime and holding them responsible. We have courts and jails. We have armies to defend ourselves against evil aggressors. All government, all police are a reflection that we are fallen. All goes back to Adam’s sin.
All education indicates that we are born ignorant, alienated from the life of God. All economics are based upon work, scarcity, and management. In the Garden, there was no work, there was no sweat, there was no scarcity, and there was nothing to manage. Everything we know of in life is a reflection of Adam. In fact, even though people who deny the Genesis account of Adam, even those people who deny that Adam was a real person in Genesis should understand that the story of Genesis 3 is the story that explains why they deny Genesis 3, because they are fallen and alienated from God and not subject to His truth.
Now we understand how one man’s one act can affect many. Adam’s affected every human being, and we looked at that on Friday. So today we want to turn to Christ. One act by the Lord Jesus Christ offering His life on the cross provides for His people the antidote to Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin brought death to all. Christ’s death brings life to all.
Let’s look at Romans 5:15. We looked at verses 12-14 on Friday. This is starting in verse 15. Now Paul is going to help us make this comparison between Adam’s one act and the reign of death, and Christ’s one act and the reign of life. I’m going to give you five contrasting features in this text – it’s really an incredibly rich portion of Scripture – five contrasting features comparing the impact of Christ’s one act with Adam’s one act. The five overlap, but they are not redundant; rather, they express a kind of eloquent fullness and richness concerning this truth, like facets of the same jewel. And I want you to follow the contrasts of the effect of Christ as compared to Adam. Now let’s start with that point.
The first, there is a difference in their effectiveness. There was a certain effectiveness in what Adam did; there is a differing effectiveness in what Christ did. Adam’s offense had a certain effect; Christ’s gift had a different effect.
Let’s go to verse 15. And here are the contrasts introduced immediately: “But the free gift, the charisma, is not like the transgression.” That introduces us to this comparison, this analogy between Adam and Christ. It was really introduced at the end of verse 14 where we are told that “Adam is a type of Him who was to come.” That is to say that there’s a parallel, there’s a connection, there’s an analogy there. “The free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
The first difference is indicated by “much more.” The free gift is “much more” effective than the transgression. Transgression is paraptōma. It means a full deviation, a trespass, an offense against God; and “as a result,” verse 15 says, “of that transgression the many died.” Who are “the many”? All who were in Adam, and that means all the human race. We were all in his loins, he acted as our representative when he did what he did, and we all went down with him.
“The free gift,” the charisma, the grace gift which is good and righteous and pleasing to God, also abounded to many. And who are the many? All who are in Christ. For all who are in Adam, death. For all who are in Christ, life. One is a transgression, the other is a grace gift.
Now how are we to understand this issue of effectiveness and its difference? By the transgression, many are dead. The sin of Adam killed the race. The one sin of the one man became the ground for the death of all human beings. “Many” is used for the sake of the analogy. You’ll see down in verse 18 that word “all” is used there, again for the sake of the analogy. Many died, and the many are all who were in Adam. Many live in Christ, and the many are all who are in Christ. Or if you use the language of verse 18, “all men” were condemned who were in men, and “all men” are justified who are in Christ, the many and the all used as a literary device.
Regarding Adam, “the many” are all human beings. Regarding Christ, “the all” who are in Christ are many human beings. This is a parallelism of the analogy, and it’s repeated in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive.”
All who are in Adam die; all who are in Christ are made alive. So the sin of Adam then pollutes all his posterity, all who are in him. All who are represented by him are catapulted into sin, guilt, ruin, judgment, and death. He acted as our head and took us down with him.
But the contrast, what Christ did in His one act, is much more. He does much more. The end of verse 20: “It abounded” – the work of Christ – “all the more.”
Is the effect of Adam’s sin devastating? Yes. Is it widespread? Yes. But the effect of Christ’s one act is much more. The evil gift of Adam, death. The grace gift of Christ, life. And simply stated, life is much more than death. Christ is more powerful to save than Adam is to ruin. Adam had the power to kill, but Christ has the power to give life, and Paul piles up the expressions related to Christ in verse 15 and following. He talks about the grace of God, the gift of grace, the gift of righteousness, all coming by the one man, Jesus Christ. By grace, not by law, but by grace – free gift of grace.
So the grace that comes through Jesus Christ does much more than just repair the evil done by Adam. The grace of God that comes to us in Christ through His death on the cross does not just return us to a pre-Fall condition, but rather, end of verse 15, it has an abounding reality: “The gift of the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounds to the many.” This is the verb perisseuō, “to be over and above, to be beyond, to excel, to be better, to be superior.” It is better, this grace gift, through the one act of Christ on the cross, than the act of Adam.
How are we to understand that? The evil from Adam has been more than neutralized. The evil from Adam has been more than cancelled in Christ. It is not just that death is cancelled, it is that we receive righteousness, holiness, reconciliation with God, conversion, adoption, eternal life. Paul says to Timothy that it could be understood this way: “Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10). Sin in Adam brought death; grace in Christ gives everlasting life.
Now here’s the way to simply understand that. Adam’s effectiveness can be and is nullified. Do you hear that? Adam’s effectiveness, the effect of his sin, is nullified in Christ; but nothing in heaven or hell will ever nullify Christ’s effectiveness through His one act. Adam’s one act has been, is, will be overturned.
Never will Christ’s be negated. This is the promise of John 10 that we have looked at so many times. In our Lord’s words, verse 27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
“I give them eternal life and that is settled. None of them will ever perish.” What Adam brought can be overturned; what Christ brought cannot. So in the sense of effectiveness, Adam’s impact for many was temporary; Christ’s impact, for all who were in Him, was everlasting.
A second comparison that the apostle Paul makes is the comparison of extent. And this is rich, the extent, the comparison between Adam’s condemnation and Christ’s justification. Look at verse 16, verse 16: “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned.”
Again, you can see that this verse begins as the previous one with this statement of contrast: “The gift” - the grace gift in Christ – “is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.”
You need to understand this, because this is staggering truth. He starts out by saying, “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned.” The gift of grace, through Christ and His one act, is not like the gift of death through Adam and his one act. There is a huge difference, massive difference, incalculable difference. It is this; the judgement arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation.
Do you understand the whole human race is condemned? All born sinners; all die. It extends beyond them. The whole creation is subjected to the curse. The whole universe has to be replaced, and in its place in the future after it is finally destroyed God will create a new heaven and a new earth. The whole universe is cursed, and it’s all cursed, and all humans are cursed because of one sin by one man. That’s how powerful sin is. One sin by one man curses the entire universe, condemns the whole human race to sin and death, one sin by one man.
But on the other hand, to show you how much greater the free gift is, the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. What is this saying? This is saying this: one sin by one man catapulted the human race into sin and death. Christ’s gift brings forgiveness to all who believe in Him for all their sins. The extent of the grace gift is incalculable. It covers many, many billions of sins, transgressions, trespasses, iniquities, perversions, deviations.
Condemnation came by one sin. One sin is enough to condemn the whole human race and pollute the universe. Justification cancels all the sins of all the people who are connected to Christ. The one transgression demanded the condemnation of all, nothing less; but the free gift in Christ is of such massive character that it operates with regard to all the sins of all who are Christ’s. Damned by one sin by one man, justified by one sacrifice by one man through whom all our sins are forgiven. This is how great forgiveness is.
It only took one sin to damn the whole race. And, oh, by the way, it was the sin of eating. It wasn’t moral – eating. You say, “Well, wouldn’t God give them a little break? All he did was eat something.”
God hates sin. If God says, “Don’t eat,” and you eat, that’s enough to damn the whole human race and curse the universe. That’s how bad sin is. The evil from which Christ saves us is far greater than just one sin; it is inconceivable iniquity. And so Christ has done much more, much more; not only removed the effect of the one sin, but forgiven all the results of the one sin on behalf of His people.
Yes, God hates sin. He sentenced the whole human race to death for one sin of eating; and that’s justice. Any sin calls for holy judgment, extensive holy judgment. There are no first-, second-, third-degree sins. There are no venial, mortal sins; sin is sin. Adam’s sin was eating.
That’s God’s view of sin; just eating when you’re told not to is enough to damn the race. If that had the power to damn the race, imagine how powerful grace is to forgive all the sins of all the people who will ever believe. This is how you understand the extent of the work of Christ in His one act on the cross compared to the extent of Adam’s one sin. If the whole human race suffered death because of Adam’s sin, and yet on the other hand, we can be justified from all our sins by the one act of Christ, then how much greater in extent is His work.
The abundance of grace in Christ takes all our sins away, because He paid the penalty in His death for all our sins. In three hours of darkness, He absorbed the fury of God against all the sins of all the people who would ever believe. One sin was enough to condemn the entire universe; He absorbed all the sins of all His people. The suffering is inconceivable, but it is also sufficient.
Even after many transgressions, the free gift is given to us, free gift, the charisma, the gift of grace. So Christ’s one act on the cross is greater in its effectiveness. Adam’s act can be reversed and overturned and conquered; Christ’s cannot. It is unchangeable and everlasting. It is greater in extent. Adam’s act was in relation to one sin; Christ, His act was in relation to countless sins.
Let me give you a third E word: efficacy, efficacy. That’s an old word; it’s a good word. You say, “What does efficacy mean?” The dictionary definition would say, “The capacity for producing a desired result.”
When you say something is efficacious, you mean it produces the desired result. It is effective in the sense that what you intend for it to do and what it purports to do it actually accomplishes. And when you look at the efficacy, the contrast between Adam and the work of Christ, you see the difference between death and life. Let’s look at verse 17: “If by the transgression of the one, death reigned.”
That is the efficacy of Adam’s sin, it produced the result of death, and death reigned. It was the ultimate sovereign over all of human life, everyone dies. “The transgression of one brought about the reign of death much more,” - we hear for the fourth time in this chapter - “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Adam and the reign of death; Christ and the reign of life – much more, much more.
Death reigned because of the sin of Adam; life reigned – or we reign in life, as Paul says it – by the one act of Christ on the cross. Grace overpowers the results of sin. The result of the work of Christ overpowers the result of the work of Adam, and therefore, it is much more efficacious. Sin in Adam set us against God, and death reigned over all of us. Righteousness in Christ reconciled us to God, and we reign in life.
What does it mean to reign in life? What is that saying? The language of the New Testament is clear, listen to it, Ephesians 1:3. Here’s what it means to reign in life: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
What does it mean to reign in life? It means to be lavished with all the blessings of heaven. We are kings, we’re a royal priesthood, and we have literally been lavished with all the riches of heaven. The language of the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1: “Blessed be” - again it’s a doxology – “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” An imperishable, undefiled, unfading, eternal inheritance. That’s what it means to reign in life. That is God’s promise to us.
Again, Peter writes in 2 Peter: “Grace and peace,” chapter 1, verse 2, “be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and His excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” That’s what it means to reign in life, to have everything heaven can possibly lavish on you. You’re royal; you rule; you reign.
Book of Revelation talks about the fact that one day we will sit on the very throne upon which the Lord sits, and reign with Him. Our life is above, our life is beyond us, that’s why Paul said to the Colossians, “You don’t set your affections on things on the earth, but things above.” We reign.
So the one act of Christ is far beyond, far beyond the one act of Adam in its efficacy. All Adam’s act did was produce death and condemnation. Brought about the reign of death. The one act of Christ brought about the reign of life.
There’s a fourth element to this magnificent comparison. Let’s call it essence; let’s call it essence. That is to say the nature of it, and that’s in verses 18-19. “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men.” This is kind of summarizing what he’s been saying. “Even so through one act of righteousness” - that is Christ obediently dying on the cross - “there resulted justification of life to all men.” Again, “all men” refers to all men in Adam being condemned, and all men in Christ being justified.
But what is the very essence of those acts? Verse 19: “As through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” There is the essence that you need to understand. Sin is disobedience; righteousness is obedience. These revelations show us the very nature of sin.
Sin is an act, a thought, a word that is disobedient to God. God is the supreme authority. He establishes the law in the heart, as well as written and revealed in His Word, and when we disobey His law at any point, we manifest our fallenness and our sinfulness. It is natural for unconverted people to be disobedient to God. Again, that’s why I say Genesis 3 explains why people reject Genesis 3, because they are disobedient to God. They fight against the Word of God, the will of God.
In Adam we all sin. And what does that mean? We’re all disobedient. We disobey the law of God. The New Testament says we disobey the gospel. We’re characterized by disobedience. The whole human race is literally characterized by disobedience to God. I’m not surprised that they reject God’s morality, God’s law; but they reject even God’s revelation, even the history contained in Scripture. All who are in Adam are characterized by disobedience; that’s what Adam gave them. As children of Adam, we are born disobedient.
I think you’ve seen it in your children. Parenting is about teaching kids to stop disobeying. They don’t come in obeying; they come in disobeying, defying, rebelling. It’s in their DNA. One man’s disobedience made all who were in that one man, namely the whole human race, disobedient by nature. And that disobedience is basically a disobedience to the law of God, whether it’s understood from the heart, as in Romans 2, or from the written revelation of Scripture.
So defining is this, that in Ephesians 2, verses 1-2, and Ephesians 5:6, sinners are basically called “sons of disobedience.” In other words, that is the defining reality of their progeny. They were born disobedient. They are sons of disobedience. That’s their characteristic.
Paul in describing all of us in Adam says this: “For we were also once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in evil and envy, hateful, hating one another,” all of us. That’s what it means to be in Adam - you get Adam’s nature.
The flood of sin pollutes the whole human stream. One man’s disobedience made many sinners. Look back at verse 19; it made many sinners. We literally were made sinners; not accounted sinners, not designated sinners, not forensically dubbed sinners, we were made sinners. It gets passed down. I understand you can’t find sin in the DNA; you can’t find sin in the chromosomes. But in that human material there is embodied sin and corruption and death and disobedience, and we’ve all been made sinners.
But on the other hand, by the obedience of one, Christ in His one act of obedience on the cross, the many will be made righteous. That’s justification, a forensic declaration that we are righteous because God grants to us His own righteousness as we put our trust in Christ. We are made righteous. In the same way that we were born sinners we are born again righteous, so that in Adam disobedience is the normal function; but in Christ, obedience is the normal function.
In the sixth chapter of Romans, if you look ahead to verses 16-17, you can see it there: “Whenever you present yourselves to someone as slaves it’s for obedience. You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death” – obedience to sin is disobedience to God – “or of obedience resulting in righteousness.” Then verse 17: “Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
That is not forensic; that is not a declared righteousness; that is an actual righteousness. Literally, we have been regenerated, born again, made new, given the life of God so that we are obedient. We’ve been transformed in nature, and we are basically saved, Ephesians 2:10, “unto good works.” Obedience.
So the essence, the essence of Adam’s one act is disobedience; the essence of Christ’s one act is obedience. Adam’s disobedience made all of us sinners; Christ’s obedience is making all of us righteous. That full, complete righteousness.
So if we’re talking about effectiveness, Christ’s work is greater than Adam’s. If we’re talking about extent, Christ’s work is greater than Adam’s. If we’re talking about efficacy, Christ’s work is greater than Adam’s. If we’re talking about essence, Christ’s work is greater than Adam’s - or obedience is greater than disobedience.
A final point. Let’s just use the word “energy” to keep our E’s — power. In Adam, there is power. Adam had power. His sin unleashed a power in the world that cannot be stopped, it can’t be stopped. In fact, when God sent the law that didn’t stop it – look at verse 20 – it did the opposite. The law – talking about the law of Moses in Moses’ time when God revealed from heaven specifics in the law – the law came so that the transgression would stop. Is that what it says?
It says the opposite; the transgression would increase. So if you think you can be saved by the law, which is what all false religions teach, you’re exactly opposite the truth. There is power in fallenness, but there is only power to get worse. And even when you bring the law in, the law actually increases that sinfulness.
You say, “How does it do that?” It does it two ways. Number one, by spelling out in detail all kinds of sins that we would never have thought of, such as, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” No, the law increases sinfulness.
And, secondly, not only does the law increase it by defining it in larger categories than we would expect, but the law increases our sinfulness by seducing itself by its very prohibitions. When the law says don’t do something, there’s something in that that becomes seductive. “Oh, I shouldn’t do that? That’s what I want to do.” There’s something in the human heart that lusts for the forbidden realities.
So look at verse 20. The power in the law is the power to increase sin. That’s because the power in Adam unleashed in the human race can only produce sin, and sin, and sin, and there’s nothing in that power to stop it, and there’s not even anything in the law to stop it; it just increases it. That’ why any religion based up keeping moral laws, religious laws, ceremonial laws is a lie and a deception.
And that’s every religion, by the way; that’s every religion other than the gospel of Christ. The law has never been a part of redemption. God didn’t look at the world and say, “Boy, this world is a mess. I drown them all back in Genesis 6; the whole globe, eight survived; and it’s gone the same direction. I think I’ll give the law and that’ll stop this.” No, the law was never a part of redemption.
The law has no saving power. The law has no power to change the human heart whatsoever. The law makes demands that it cannot empower. What it does is the opposite of that, as I’ve pointed out. It just energizes corruption.
In Romans, chapter 3, verse 19, Paul said, “We know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.” What the law does do is show you your sin, “But,” verse 20, “by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Not just the knowledge of it, but the solicitation to it.
So what is the power unleashed from Adam? The power of increased sin. The Bible says evil men get worse and worse and worse. That’s cumulative through human history. It’s not going to get any better; it’s getting worse, and getting worse, and getting worse all the time. That is the power, that is the
Galatians 3:19 asks the question: “Why then the law?” It says it was added “because of transgressions.” But in verse 21 it says, “The law is not able to impart righteousness. The law is not able to impart life.” And then verse 24, “The law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”
Can’t be justified by works. All the law does is condemn you and escalate your sinfulness by expanding the categories and becoming literally a solicitation to do evil. The law increases the reality of sin, increases the awareness of sin, and increases the desire to sin. That’s completely contrary to what religions of works tell you, that somehow there is in you the power to overcome your Adamic fallenness and do good, good enough to please God. That is the devil’s big lie.
But on the other hand, look at the end of verse 20: “Where sin increased, grace” - What? – “abounded all the more.” Here we find the same verb perisseuō, used at the end of verse 15; only it has a preposition at the front of it and it’s huperperisseuō. Hyper, which is an expanded view of this verb as if he’s saying, “It is far, far beyond; way, way beyond; infinitely beyond.”
How powerful then is the one work of Christ in grace on the cross that wherever the law goes and it increases sin, Christ comes and increases grace far beyond – way, way beyond; over and above – to cover it all. However powerful, however powerful sin is unleashed by Adam, grace unleashed by Christ is far more powerful. It covers; it forgives; it removes guilt. It transfers you from condemnation to justification. The law simply puts depravity on display, stimulates sin, dooms the sinner. But the law has no power to change the heart. Grace put love and holiness on display, stimulating obedience, and grace has the power to change the heart. The grace of God is supernatural; the sin of Adam is natural and has in its own essence nothing that can change you. So every way you look at the one act of Christ on the cross compared to the one act of Adam, the one act of Christ triumphs over Adam.
Paul comes to a final conclusion in verse 21: “So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s it. How can what one man does affect so many? One man brought the reign of death, the first Adam. Another man, the second Adam, has brought the reign of life.
Christ, grace in Him, meets sin and defeats it. Christ and grace in Him reigns, and then it becomes the controlling power of our lives. Christ and His one act unleashes grace that produces righteousness, forgiveness, justification, adoption, conversion, and one day, glorification. The one work of Christ transfers the sinner from death to life. The one work of Christ and the grace that it unleashes carries the justified, reconciled sinner into heaven. And this is the only way. All through this chapter it’s by Christ. We have peace because of Him; we have adoption because of Him; we have reconciliation because of Him; we have justification because of Him, and there is no other name.
Now that was the introduction; here’s the point, okay. I get it that when Adam did what he did, it affected us all. He was acting for us. He was our representative, and in a sense, we were there in Adam when he acted. But how does Christ’s resurrection, a historical fact, affect us the way Adam’s sin affected us? The answer is to keep reading.
Go to chapter 6, verse 3: “Do you not know that all of us who have been [literally] immersed into Christ Jesus, placed into Christ Jesus, have been immersed into His death?” Wow. Now we know we were in Adam in his sin. Now we find out we are in Christ in His death. “Therefore,” verse 4, “we have been buried with Him through that immersion, placing us into Him into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” We were in Adam when he sinned. Listen to this: when he disobeyed, and we all died. We were in Christ when He rose, and we all live.
Verse 5: “If we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Do you understand that? When Adam sinned, we were all there. When Christ died, we were all there. We died in Him; we rose in Him. That’s true of all of Adam’s people; that’s true of all of Christ’s people.
He goes on to say, “Our old self,” verse 6, “was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Verse 11: “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Why did Adam’s sin affect all who were in Adam? Because God designed it that way. He was our representative; he was acting for us; we were in him when he acted. How could Christ’s death and resurrection affect us? Because He is our representative; He is our head, and when He died and rose again we were in Him. We were in Adam naturally; we were in Christ spiritually. This is why the resurrection is so important. We celebrate the resurrection not merely as a historical fact, but as our resurrection. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.” We live in Him.
Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for the rich realities that it proclaims to us. We thank You for giving us the opportunity to celebrate again the glories of the resurrection, and to probe some of its riches. Increase our love for You as we come to understand how much You love us, that You would do this for us. Set Your love upon us; give us life in Christ. May we be true worshipers, pouring out praise for the gift of eternal life in Christ that rescued us from the condemnation in Adam. And may we be faithful to proclaim this glorious gospel. May the resurrection so grip our hearts and thrill us that we can’t but speak of it to all we meet.
We are alive, because He is alive and we are in Him, and that life which we possess is everlasting. We look forward to that day when we enter the presence of the very throne which You occupy, O God, and worship You in fullness, and receive all that You have promised to us. May we be faithful until that day in the Savior’s name. Amen.
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