Adam or Christ?
Romans 5:19 (ESV) — For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Every person in the world right now is either in Adam or Christ. This binary has no additional options. Either Adam represents you before God or Christ does. Each person in the world is born into Adam. We have his guilt and sin nature by birth. We must be born again to be in Christ. To be in Christ means to have His righteousness cover us and His sacrifice pay for our sins. On the Day of Judgment, each person will enter eternal life to blessing or curse based on which man they are found in.
Our passage today sets the stage for this reality. Paul highlights that the actions of one of these men are going to be credited to us. He says, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Paul highlights how the one man’s disobedience (Adam) made us sinners. His actions go to his offspring after him. But the one man’s obedience (Jesus) makes his offspring righteous. We become one with Christ when we put our faith in Him. Faith in Jesus justifies us. It is our only hope. Without faith, we remain in Adam, and all in Adam die (1 Corinthians 15:22). Only those in Christ have eternal life in Heaven.
When I preach this concept to students, I use an illustration with two students on the stage. One represents Adam and one Christ. They are separated from each other on different ends of the stage. Then I have 5-6 students come up and line up behind Adam. I explain how we are all born into Adam. We’re guilty as his offspring. God deals with us on the basis of being in Adam. But when we hear the gospel and believe, we are transferred to the Kingdom of the Son. I walk one of the students across the stage to line up behind Christ. Now they are treated on the basis of all Jesus’ finished work on their behalf. This illustration helps each student realize that one of these two men represents them. The same is true for us. Who represents you today before God?
We are all born into Adam.
We’re guilty as his offspring.
God deals with us on the basis
of being in Adam.
But when we hear the gospel and believe,
we are transferred to the
Kingdom of the Son.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why are we guilty by birth and not just when we commit our first sin?
- What does it mean to be in Adam? What does it mean to be in Christ?
- How does this passage and devotional help us explain the Christian faith to others?
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