Adam and Christ

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The sin of Adam and the consequences of that sin are strikingly exhibited in the latter part of Romans 5 in contrast to the grace that is manifested in Jesus Christ. The very important position that Adam held displays the character and work of the Lord Jesus Christ who is contrasted with the first Adam. Adam in his innocence was a type and figure of Christ. The Lord Jesus is the head of all grace and truth, the representative of all believers, while Adam is the head of all sin and misery, a representative of all sinners by nature. This distinction is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15: “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven,” and in Romans 5:1414Nevertheless 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. (Romans 5:14) he is said to be “the figure of Him that was to come.”
The over-abundant love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is testified of in the next verse: “If through the offense 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.” And the contrast is very striking as we continue: “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. Therefore, as by the offense 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.”
Here we have, in a perspective view, the effect of Adam’s sin and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see the way in which He met the whole question of the controversy between God and man.
The Head and Root
We have in Adam the head and root of a sinful world lying in wickedness and misery, and in Christ the head and root of a world of blessedness, reigning in life, opening a “new and living way,” prevailing over man’s sin and ruin — not merely the saving of souls to God, but positively triumphing over man’s evil, over the utmost evil man could do. He is not only undoing what man had done, but over-abounding in blessedness the ruin man had brought on himself — not only setting aside the work done by man, but manifesting the riches of divine love over evil, sin, ruin and misery, which were allowed for the purpose of displaying more astonishingly the greatness of God’s love and His direct contrast to man in all things.
Now this is what we are to look for in Christ, a remedy adequate to the evil sin had wrought, a remedy that should meet and overbalance the weight of iniquity, and we have it in Christ, in the exceeding riches of His grace. The way and means were of His own devising and His own executing, to display His goodness to us in Christ Jesus, that He should be the substance of the joy of His people, the rest of their souls, the object of their hopes, and the desire of their affections. And such He is. Evil has abounded, and sin has taken its full, free course. We trace its root, rise and progress in the first Adam, in whose sin we have the complete and entire alienation of man’s heart from God. We have the virtual denial and rejection of God as a God over him and the practical consequences of that denial — the taking of Satan as a god in preference and trusting and confiding in him rather than in God.
The Present World
Now, I say this is just the position the world is in at present. They have practically and decidedly taken Satan for god, to the rejection of the Lord; they have lost all hopes of favor; they have forfeited all claim to any blessing God can confer. All the world has done this positively and willingly, and every individual is doing so, until Christ calls him out of the world and brings him to rest on Him for all things. Christ undoes in his soul what the sin of the first Adam has done, makes him an heir of God, and puts into his heart the Spirit crying, “Abba, Father.” He enables him to know and understand the association of principle, feeling and actual position in which he stands with Christ when exclaiming, “My Father and your Father, my God and your God.” From thence is all our hope and happiness; we are brought over to trust Him, to live in His life, and no longer to live under the dominion of the devil who works in “the children of disobedience.” We actually “become  ...  sons of God,” are delivered from the offenses of the first Adam, and are no longer in the position of the world.
God’s Representative
The sin of Adam induced the wrath of heaven’s offended majesty. The work of the Lord Jesus Christ met, in every circumstance and in every position, this situation. Let us view Adam first in his creation, as he came out of the hands of God — the image of God — in His own likeness; he was God’s representative, and everything was subordinate to him, put in authority under him.
Psalm 8 evidently refers to this: “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (vs. 4). But in Hebrews 2, where this is quoted, we find it was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels” (in His humiliation). “We see not yet all things put under Him” (but that we shall see at His coming). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” He became practically the head and root of a new creation, manifested so at His resurrection. The Lord was doing for His people, in His humiliation, all that was necessary to put away sin, suffering what was due to sin, even suffering unto death. Being then quickened according to the Spirit of holiness as a risen Saviour, He becomes the Head of a new creation, as Adam was of the old.
Adam in Eden
View Adam in the garden, and we shall discern in his conduct that he had everything that qualified him to be the head and root of a sinful world. So Christ, as manifesting the very opposite conduct under the most difficult circumstances, is eminently qualified to be the Head of His people. Adam was placed in an innocent world, surrounded by every blessing, and with every holy and righteous feeling which could call forth his love and gratitude to the great Giver. It ought to have led him to confide in Him. God had placed trust in him; He put him as a steward over His goods. He reflected His own image on him and made him capable of conversing with Himself; he was the link, as it were, between God and this world.
The Second Man
Now we pass to the Second Man —the character and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall see how in thought, word and deed, He perfectly vindicated the truth, love and majesty of the great God of heaven, which man had shamefully and willfully dishonored. How did He vindicate the truth of God? The Lord God had said, “Thou shalt surely die.” Christ came as the great witness to His people that “the wages of sin is death,” though it was by imputation only, for He was perfectly and entirely holy. But He took our sins; He bore our iniquities. He was willing to be looked upon as the guilty and to bear the penalty God had annexed to sin, “Thou shalt surely die,” in order to vindicate the truth of God.
We see again how He fully vindicated the love of God. That God — whom man looked upon as a grudging God keeping back from him that which was desirable — that God gave His only begotten Son for man’s transgression! How eminently conspicuous is God’s love in the sufferings and death of Jesus! The more righteous and holy Jesus was, the more God’s love was displayed in giving Him for sin. He needed not to die for His own offenses, for He had committed none, nor for His own sins, for He “knew no sin.” He was brought, nevertheless, to the extremity of suffering and shame, and yet trusted and confided in God, in circumstances all opposite to those in which Adam was placed.
Now we see our glorious Head by faith alone, but soon shall we see Him as He is, in all His glory, and be changed into that same glory. In the meantime, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” May we, then, be filled with the fullness of Christ! The Scriptures open out all the blessings that are in Him, all fullness dwells in Christ, and we, the brethren of the Lord, have a part in it by a union which commences in time but consummates in a never-ending and blissful eternity!
J. N. Darby, adapted