Death in Adam, Life in Christ
In the busyness of our life we are bombarded by information on a daily basis. Through constant advertisements, 24-hour news cycle, the incessant beeping of our smart phones, everything claims to be urgent. Today, as we study God’s infallible and immutable Word, we are going to hear about what is most urgent. It will all come down to two categories: Death in Adam or Life in Christ?
Many of us love to put things into categories. We categorize our food. Is an item considered meat, dairy, vegetable, fruit or grain? Are our dining choices healthy, gourmet or fast food? (Although the faster the food, the less like actual food it remains).
We categorize our drinks. Take Coke for example. We have Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coke, and Coke Zero (Does that mean zero flavor?).
Even our waste has categories! There is trash, recycling, paper or plastic.
We live in a world of categories. But according to our passage today, there are only two categories that matter. Are you “in Adam” or “in Christ”?
Romans 5:12-14 dives right into our first category, “in Adam”. It needs to be stated the Apostle Paul and Jesus Himself, saw Adam as a historical, real person. Adam was not just allegorical, nor metaphorical. He was not a fable told to convey some moralistic virtue. Adam was a real living person.
“Federal Headship” is a theological term that helps us understand Adam’s relationship with the human race. Adam represented us as a people and we are represented as individuals. Adam sinned as a man and as “man.” When Adam sinned in the garden all men sinned. It was both individual and corporate. In Adam’s “original sin,” his descendants are born with proclivity toward sin and the inevitably of death (See Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3).
Death has reigned from Adam to Moses, from creation of the world to the revelation of God’s law. Romans 1-2 tells us that even those who do not have the law will still be accountable to God because they have a law, a moral/natural law, unto themselves. Regardless of whether you are ignorant or educated, the objective reality is that sin and death reign supreme.
Yet, there is good news.
Ironically, this biological connection to Adam also helps explain the spiritual connection to Christ. Has a skeptic or atheist ever pointed out how illogical it is that the death of a Jewish carpenter, in some small Middle-Eastern country, on some random hill outside the city of Jerusalem, could somehow cleanse us from sin two thousand years later?
Good Question. So why?
Romans 5 tells us that in the same way we carry Adam’s sin WITH US,
We can know the grace of Christ IN US!
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 says, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
When we focus on the sin around us – the depravity in our culture or even the dysfunction in our kitchens – we can get downtrodden, discouraged and defeated. When sin seems bigger than the Savior, we have lost sight of just how powerful the atoning work of Jesus on the cross is! Romans 5:20 proclaims, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
We don’t need to put in more effort, we need a rescue. We don’t need to try harder we need a new nature. Christianity is not about making bad people good, but about making dead people alive! This is our new identity. When Jesus raised Lazarus from death, he commanded death to leave. Jesus has that kind of power! He also commanded those around Lazarus to “take off his grave clothes”. The rags that reeked of death no longer belonged on him.
Through faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross, we are justified. Justification means we are declared righteous. In justification, grace reigns and righteousness is given. Meaning our past sins are forgiven and our future sins are covered by the righteousness of Christ.
The only hope of standing in the perfect presence of God is to be perfect. Without Christ’s righteousness counted to us, an attempt at perfection is utter futility. That is why if it were possible for Christians to lose their salvation, we would! We all would! Perfection cannot be maintained even for an hour. If we are “in Christ” then nothing can snatch you from the Father’s hand and nothing can separate you from Christ’s love.
Do You Need A Category Change?
Whether you categorize yourself as American, Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Northerner, Southerner, from the East, or from the West, Urban, Suburban, criminal or free, ignorant or intelligent, pro-athlete or Soccer mom, Business Guru or Garbage man, the most important question you have to ask yourself is “Am I In Christ?”
Romans 5:12-21 asks: Are you “in Adam” or “in Christ”? It is not possible to be in both categories, or to be neither. There is no middle ground. If you are not “in Christ,” that means you are still “in Adam.” If you are not in the forgiveness, grace and life of Jesus Christ, than death and sin still reigns over you.
Believe in Jesus today and have your category changed forever.