By E.H. “Jack” Sequeira
When we studied the “two Adams,” we saw that “in Adam all die,” while “in Christ all will be made alive” [1 Corinthians 15:22]. Since all of us have sinned in Adam [see Romans 5:12], then all of us must ultimately die the second death, which is the wages of that sin. Apart from the Saviour, every child of Adam is born on death row. The eternal life Christ offers us as a free gift is always in contrast to the eternal death we inherit in Adam.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish [say good-bye to life forever] but have eternal life [John 3:16].
Christ did not come to change the death sentence hanging over the human race. Rather, He came to fulfill that death sentence and make a way of escape for lost humanity. To change the death sentence would mean that Christ would have to break His own law or make it void. This can never be, for the law is a revelation of His just, righteous character that never changes [see Hebrews 13:8].
Since we have all sinned in Adam, we must all die. But Christ came that we may be made alive in Him. To understand this, we must go back and look again at 1 Corinthians 15:45,47. These two verses refer to Adam as the “first Adam” and the “first man.” They call Christ the “last Adam” and the “second man.” According to verse 45, Adam is the first head of the human race, and Christ is the last (or second) head of the same human race. In verse 47, Adam is the head of the first, or old, human race; Christ is the head of the second, or new, human race.
As the second Adam, Christ gathered to Himself the whole human race and died the second, eternal death — the wages of sin that we all deserved in the first Adam. He arose from the dead as the second man, the head of a new humanity who are all in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:17]. At the cross, old things passed away; at the resurrection, all things became new.
Not only Christ died the second death on the cross; we, too, died in Him. Thus He forever delivered us from our doomed situation in Adam. Through His resurrection, we were made alive in Him, born anew to a “living hope” [1 Peter 1:3] that is entirely of grace. Christ, the second man, stands as the head of a new humanity. This is the truth we all confess and submit to when we are baptized into Christ [see Romans 5:3-6]. Baptism is simply our surrender to what God did to us in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Through the cross, we have said good-bye forever to the life we inherited in Adam. In exchange, we have received the life of Christ. This truth, above any other, will determine whether we remain carnal Christians, living like ordinary men and women [see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3], or become spiritual Christians bearing the fruit of Christ’s life [see John 15:4-8].
The whole human race, which originated in the first Adam, died in Christ, the last Adam. This is a necessity, because without first doing away with us in Adam, Christ could not introduce us into the new human race to which we have been born in Him. The following texts make it clear from Scripture that Christ’s cross was a corporate cross on which the whole human race died in order that we might be set free from the rule of sin and the devil and be made alive to God:
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me [Galatians 2:19-20].
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God [Colossians 3:3].
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died [2 Corinthians 5:14].
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him [2 Timothy 2:11].
In the last three chapters we have looked at three great truths about the cross. We may summarize them as follows:
Therefore, the cross of Christ becomes the means by which we: