vs. 12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned -"
vs. 18 "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life."
vs. 19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
How Different Can Two Men Be?
Two men are contrasted in these verses of scripture - and how different they are! One brought sin into the world and the other brought righteousness. One brought death and one brought eternal life. One through disobedience condemned the world and one through obedience to the will of God freed us from the wrath of God.
First Corinthians 15:22 further amplifies this contrast, and tells us exactly who the two are: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
When faced with pressure from Satan, Adam and Eve caved in and brought a curse upon the earth. Spiritual death, poverty, sickness and disease, wars, famines, moral collapse, divorce, and physical death are only a few of a long list of calamities which entered into men's lives because of the disobedience of the first man and woman. Using money, business, and political power, mankind has tried for centuries to rid the world of poverty, hunger, and war, but to no avail. The problems seem to grow worse with every generation.
When faced with the same satanic pressures - and more - Jesus never yielded, but walked in obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Thank God, Jesus untangled the web of sin Adam wove. Through faith in the work of the Cross, God delivers each person who comes to Him. God will not change the whole world until the Lord Jesus comes back to establish His kingdom. In the meantime, He is content to change each nation, one life at a time.
But They Are Also Alike
Sandwiched between all of the verses telling the differences between Adam and Jesus is a verse telling us they were also alike:
vs. 14 "Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
Adam was a "figure" [in Greek, the word is "tupos" or "type"] of the Lord Jesus. How could this be? How could a disobedient man who introduced sin and brought a curse to the whole world be compared to the sinless and obedient Lord Jesus?
They are alike in that both were leaders or heads of multitudes to come. Both were responsible for the destiny of many others. Because of Adam, sin and death passed on all. Because of Jesus, righteousness and eternal life is available to all.
We Were There
When we were born physically, we were taken back to that first tree in the Garden of Eden. When we were born again, we were taken back to that second tree, the Cross. It is as though we were there participating, both when Adam disobeyed and when Jesus obeyed.
We had no choice about being "in Adam." We are born in Adam. The results of Adam's disobedience are a part of every person who is born on the earth. When Adam disobeyed, we disobeyed. When he fell, we fell. The whole race was put in jeopardy and on trial. We are ruined as thoroughly as if we were there. As if we had eaten the fruit ourselves.
Being in Adam was not our choice, but getting out of Adam and into Christ is our choice. We had no control at physical birth, but we do have a choice at the new birth. We can walk away from sin and spiritual death by accepting Jesus as our Savior.
We used to be in Adam, now we are in Christ. When Jesus obeyed, we obeyed. When Jesus died, we died with Him. When He was buried, we were also. When Jesus was quickened, we too were made alive. In fact, we are so much in Christ, God sees us as if we never were in Adam. Second Corinthians 5:17 promises, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
The Slave Market
When Adam and Eve sinned, they walked voluntarily into the slave market. They were created free but accepted a life of slavery to sin and death. Adam and Eve were created in perfection, in the image of God, then they fell. The first children were born after the Fall and were made in the image and likeness of Adam (Genesis 5:3). Their children were born fallen and in the image of their parents. Slaves give birth to slaves.
No one can ever sin in the same manner as Adam and Eve. They forfeited their freedom and the freedom of all people from that time on. The first couple were sinners because they sinned. We sin because we are sinners.
The Price of Freedom
Slaves cannot free slaves. To free a slave demands a ransom - someone must pay the price. Slaves receive no wages and therefore cannot free themselves, much less any other slave. Anyone born of slaves is a slave himself. Mohammed was a slave. Buddha was a slave.
It takes a free man to free a slave. Only three people have ever entered this earth free: Adam, Eve, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The first two were created free and Jesus was born free.
Since the Fall, there has been only one way to enter this earth free from the curse and eligible to free mankind: to be born of a virgin. Jesus was born free, yet He could have sinned in the same way Adam and Eve did. He could have ended all hope of mankind's redemption. Although He was tempted by Satan in more ways than Adam and Eve ever were, He did not yield to Satan's offers. Jesus paid the price and has opened the door for all the slaves to go free. Now any man, woman, or child can walk out of the slave market because the door stands wide open.
Who Are You In?
The world has the idea that when they stand before God in judgment, they will be allowed to argue their case individually. When asked, "If you died now, would you go to heaven?" most answer, "Yes, I believe I would." They reason that God will look at their good deeds and compare them to their bad deeds. If the good outweighs the bad, they will go to heaven. If the bad outweighs the good, they will end up in hell.
But their reasoning is wrong. God does not deal with us as a field of corn, all standing independently, each with our own roots. God deals with us as a tree, with all the limbs and branches coming from one trunk and root system. When the roots or trunk are severed, the whole tree dies. In Adam, you are a part of a dead tree. In Christ, you are a part of a living tree. People will not go to heaven because of what they have done. They will go to heaven because of who they are in. People will not go to hell because of sin, they will go to hell because of who they are in. In Adam, all die. In Christ, all are made alive.
Truth That Transforms
God sees you as already perfect and complete in Christ. Once you are born again, you have God's approval! He loves you! You are acceptable to Him, not because of what you have done, but because of what Jesus has done for you.
The whole idea of grace, of getting something you haven't earned or deserved, is so foreign to the human way of thinking that it is hard at first to believe it is really true.
It is vitally important that you know what God has said about you and that you begin to agree with Him regarding your new life in Christ. Here are just a few of the many unconditional promises God has made to all believers:
Because I am a believer in Jesus Christ, I can rejoice that my name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20).
I have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
Jesus will never, never, never leave me (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Jesus is continuously making intercession for me (Hebrews 7:25).
The Holy Spirit has come, and He will teach me all things, and guide me into all truth (John 16:13).
I have been acquitted of all sin through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He has dismissed all evidence against me, taking it out of the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).
Through the obedience of Jesus, I have been made righteous - made acceptable to God, and brought into right standing with Him (Romans 5:19).
Jesus made me free, so I am free indeed (John 8:36).
I am a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17).
All things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am God's workmanship (handiwork) created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10b).
God is working in me both to desire and do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
I am complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).
I have been raised up with Jesus and now sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).
I can do all things through Christ who keeps on strengthening me (Philippians 4:13).
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power, and soundness of mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Nothing can separate me from God's love: He and I are inseparable (Romans 8:35-39).
Read through the above scriptures again and again. Memorize them so you can think of them throughout the day. As you do, you will come to know the benefits of trading places, of choosing to be "in Christ" instead of "in Adam." God's Word will change your way of thinking - and transform you from the inside out!