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In Rom. 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) Adam is said to be a figure or type of Him that was to come. Such he is strikingly, and, as with Aaron in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in contrast even more than resemblance.
Made in God's image, after His likeness, Adam had from God, dominion over bird of the heavens, and fish of the sea, over cattle, over all the earth, and over every living thing that moveth upon it. He, the only one of all here below, became living soul by Jehovah Elohim (the LORD God) breathing into his nostrils the breath of life (Gen. 2:77And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)). Therefore was his soul alone immortal; and his spirit, instead of going downward to the earth like a beast's, went upward to God that gave it (Eccl. 3:21, 12:7). Therefore shall each one give account of himself to God, and all be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each may receive the things done through the body according to what he did, whether good or bad (Rom. 14:1212So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12), 2 Cor. 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)).
For Adam, not only responsible as he could not but be, soon became an object of judgment. Surrounded by every natural good, he was subjected to the simplest and least irksome of divine commands—to abstain from the fruit of a single tree, the test of his obedience. This he violated at the first temptation of the enemy, following his wife into evil instead of guiding her in good. Hence, as disobedient, he was driven out of Paradise under sentence of death, and when thus fallen became father of the race.
But the good, holy, and righteous LORD God sought Adam the very day he sinned, drew the guilty pair from their hiding-place, and, after bringing home their guilt respectively, in His judgment of the serpent revealed the triumph of His grace in the woman's Seed, the Second Man, and Last Adam (Gen. 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)).
And how blessed the contrast of Him Who was thus set forth from that early day, the one Object of faith and hope! For the Son of God is come and hath given us who believe understanding, that we may know Him that is true. Old Testament, no less than New, bears witness to His glory and His humiliation, His pouring out His soul unto death and His exaltation at God's right hand, as eventually and visibly over (not Israel only but) all peoples, nations, and languages, yea, all creation.
Meanwhile, as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned, so the grace of Christ brought in transcendent blessing, presented unto all men in the gracious appeal of the gospel, and taking effect “upon all that believe” (Rom. 3.). For as through one offense the bearing was unto all men for condemnation, so through one righteousness the bearing is unto all men for justification of life. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of One shall the many be constituted righteous (Rom. 5:12-1912Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless 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. 15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence 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. 16And 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 offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence 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. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:12‑19)), Even the incredulous Jew could not consistently resist the truth of the gospel, if he held to the authority of the law. For he could not deny that Adam's trespass involved the race in sin and condemnation. Was it not then worthy of God to bring in for the race a still better, richer, and more enduring good through the one Man, His own Son? And as the blessing is of God's grace unto all, so it is by faith and is preached to all, instead of depending on the law given to Israel. The gospel is universal in its appeal, yet takes effect only in those that believe, but equally in all believers be they Gentiles or Jews.
Adam, innocent, stood only on his obedience; but, swayed by his wife who was deceived by the tempter, he too disobeyed. He sought to be as God, knowing good and evil, and fell. Christ, on the contrary, Who was God, came in flesh to glorify God and save sinners, carrying out His obedience, as Adam his disobedience, unto death. And this He did perfectly and suffering to the utmost in the difficulties and ruin which man's sin had made, as Adam fell tried in the least degree with all circumstances in his favor. Wherefore also God highly exalted Christ, and sends out the glad tidings to all creation. And thus did Christ vindicate God's love, while Adam acted upon Satan's lie which defamed it, as if He kept back a little thing which would do His creatures great good. For that little thing, the forbidden fruit of the tree, Adam gave up God; Who so loved the world as to give His best, His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.
Further, if Adam believed the enemy that gainsaid God's warning of death, Christ went down under the death of the cross, and (what was infinitely more) under the judgment of our iniquities, which Jehovah laid on His holy head as a sacrifice (Isa. 53). Thus was God's truth vindicated in a way worthy of Himself and of His Son. That He is light was thereby proved; that He is love, no less; both beyond dispute in the gift of His Son to die for the guilty according to His word. All the cost was God's, all the suffering was His Son's: when Man, on behalf of men, with all the value of a divine Person and, for those that believe, its infinite transferable efficacy with God.
And thus as Adam only became a father when fallen, Jesus stands risen from the dead, after having once suffered for sins, Just for unjust, the life-giving Spirit. He comes, as He said Himself, that His disciples might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. It is the life of Him Who bore their sins in His own body on the tree; it is now the life of Him risen when the debt was paid, and the judgment borne. Thus the believer has eternal life, and comes not into judgment, but has passed as his settled state from death into life.
Is it thus with you, whoever you may be, as you read these lines? If you hear His word and believe Him Who sent His Son Jesus, you are entitled to this as the portion which God's grace is now giving to the believer in His name. Beware of the tempter, a liar and murderer from the beginning. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And the Holy Spirit is now bearing witness to Him. The church is responsibly, and ought to be, the pillar and basement of the truth; the Jew is not, nor still less the philosopher; but that assembly of a living God which owes its being and blessing to His grace, and is bound to confess Him Lord and Savior. “Hear Him.” Moses cannot save, nor Elijah; Jesus only. Believing in Jesus is of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father. “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father who sent Him” (John v. 23). “Whosoever denieth the Son hath not the Father; he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:2323Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. (1 John 2:23)). For indeed Jesus is the Good Shepherd that laid down His life for the sheep, and this in a way beyond all creature thought, after suffering all that man could do unrighteously in His faithfulness to God, suffering atoningly,—He alone; from God in His love to lost man.
“Be it known unto you therefore, [men-] brethren, that through Him is preached unto you remission of sins. And in virtue of Him, everyone that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the prophets, Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though one declare it unto you” (Acts 13:38-4138Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; 41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. (Acts 13:38‑41)).