Death Through Adam and Life Through Christ

     When thinking about what it means to be a Christian, there is one thing in particular that stands out to be of the most importance and that is Jesus Christ’s death in the place for His people. This is such and extraordinary concept to grasp. Christ died so that His people could be saved by just having faith in Him. This is known as Justification. Justification is at the heart of our salvation and at the heart of justification is s notion called the doctrine of imputation. The doctrine of justification and imputation is very important to know as a Christian so it would first be wise to give a definition of each. Both of these definitions come from the Theopedia website (www.theopedia.com).

 Justification- is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts, and declares a sinner to be just on the basis of Christ’s righteousness which results in God’s peace, His Spirit, and salvation. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works and merit.

 Imputation- is a transfer of benefit or harm from one individual to another.

     In the text that will be discussed, there will be two examples of imputation; one example will come from Adam in the Garden of Eden. The other will come from Christ when He comes to save His people. Let’s take a look at the text for discussion.

 Romans 5:12-21:

     (12)Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned- (13)for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no Law. (14)Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (15)But 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. (16) The gift 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. (17)For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life though the One, Jesus Christ. (18)So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (19)For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so though the disobedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (20)The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (NASB).

      In the case for this text, I would like to break it up in to three major parts:

1. Verses 12-14a

2. Verse 14b

3. Verses 15-21

      In verses 12-14a, we seem to find that Paul wants us to know four main issues concerning sin and the effect of sin from Adam. The first point Paul brings to us is that sin entered the world through the one man Adam. The second is that death came through the sin the Adam committed. We also find that death came to all men because of Adam. Finally we see that death reigned over all men because of Adam’s sin. The four truths that Paul makes known to us are pretty harsh indeed to come to terms with, but how did we get this way?

     Back when God creates the entire universe out of nothing, He created the earth and all that is in it including all the plant and animal life, and He called it good. Then God makes man in His image and says it is very good. Humans are image bearers of God meaning that we are persons who think, feel, act, love, and will. God commands humans in the Garden to take over the earth and subdue it, take care of it, make culture, reproduce and worship God through all of this. This is known as what is referred to the “cultural mandate” (Gen. 1:28). God commanded us to do this. God also commanded us to not do one thing, and that was to not eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when humans would eat of the tree, they would surly die. In the Garden however, there was a serpent that tempted and deceived Eve who ate of the fruit and took some to her husband Adam to eat. When they ate the fruit, there eyes were open and God had come to them asking what they had done. Adam blamed it on Eve, and Eve blamed it on the serpent, but now sin has entered the world and cursed it. The result of this is that since Adam was man’s first representative and failed, his sin was imputed to all of mankind and everyone who would be born after him would be born into sin. We all have sinned through Adam. This is known as the doctrine of original sin.

 Original Sin- This is the doctrine which holds that human nature has been morally and ethically corrupted due to the disobedience of mankind’s first parents to the revealed will of God. In the bible, the first human transgression of God’s command is described as the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden resulting in what theology calls the fall of mankind. The doctrine of original sin holds that every person born into the world is tainted by the fall such that all of humanity is ethically debilitated, and people are powerless to rehabilitate themselves, unless rescued by God. (www.theopedia.com)

      If by this definition we are in a fallen state, just how bad are we in? Consider these verses with me. Romans 3:23 says that all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Ephesians 2 says that we were all once dead in our trespasses and sins. Romans 3:9-18 states that not one person is righteous, not even one. If we are this bad, how are we to get out of it? How are we to be reconciled from this?

    The answer seems to be provided in the later part of verse 14. I have labeled this passage as 14b above. The second part of the verse says that “Adam was a type of Him who was to come”. Who is this Him who is to come? The answer I suggest is no one other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, but someone might ask, how do you know? Biblically, we see evidence of this as early as in Genesis even. Take a look at Genesis 3:14-15.

 Genesis 3:14-15:

     (14)The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; (15)And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.

      This is what is known as the proto-evangelium or also known as the first gospel. You will notice that the text uses the word seed of the woman. What is odd is that traditionally seed does not come from the woman, but from the man. What could this be talking about? We know that Jesus was born of a virgin and without and earthly father. This reference in Genesis chapter 3 is a reference of the virgin birth that is to come. Christ will strike a death blow to the evil one on the cross. Another interesting point to consider is that from this point on in Genesis, the closer you come to the New Testament, the more clear Christ becomes in the Old Testament. This is known as progressive revelation of Jesus Christ. An example of this would be to compare Genesis 3:14-15 to Isaiah 53 about the suffering servant.

     The last part of this passage will cover verses 15-21 of Romans 5. Paul in this passage continually speaks about a gift. I suggest that this gift he is referring to is the gift of salvation from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This gift is the redemption of our lives from a sinful nature and to be reconciled to God the Father. Paul also makes a distinct contrast between what resulted from Adam and what came from Christ. Paul shows us this in five ways; let’s take a look to see what he is talking about.

 1. (v. 15) Paul shows that the gift from Christ is completely different that what came from Adam. Death came from Adam, but life came through Christ.

2. (v.16) Paul says that the results from Adam and Christ are different. Adam brought condemnation while Christ brought justification.

3. (v. 17) Paul mentions that the essence between Adam and Christ is also different. Adam brought the reign of death while Christ brought the reign of life.

4. (vv.18-19) The results are specifically different. Through Adam we are considered sinners, but through Christ we are considered righteous.

5. (vv 20-21) God’s Law is used in different ways through Adam and Christ. Though the Law was perfect and not flawed, when the law was introduced, man’s sin increased because it now convicted men of their sins. While sin increased, it also was motivation to push men towards Christ. By the Law we know our sins problem.

    Now, looking back to what we talked about in the beginning. I mentioned something about imputation. We now know that Adam’s sin was imputed to all men, but what about Jesus Christ? When Jesus was on the cross and dying for His people, we know from scripture that our sin was imputed to Him on the cross, but His righteousness was imputed to His people and now God sees us on the basis of His Son’s righteousness. This is known as the imputed righteousness of Christ, or double imputation. Consider this one verse that is probably one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible.

 2 Corinthians 5:21

     (21) He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

      I am so happy to be studying this issue because it does so me the love of God for His people. I pray that you consider this as well for your lives and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. For those of you who are Christians, I pray that you consider this more deeply and apply it to your own lives.  



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