Wherefore, 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.
14 Nevertheless 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.
There are many people in the Old Testament who could be called “types of Christ.” Boaz was a type of Christ our kinsman redeemer. Joseph was a type of Christ as someone who functioned in a position of authority. Joseph’s authority to reign under Pharaoh represents how Jesus was authorized to reign under God his Father. Aaron, David, Joshua, Melchizedek, Moses and Solomon are also considered by many to be types of Christ. However Romans 5:14 is the only place in the New Testament that directly points back to a particular person who would set the pattern for who the Messiah would be like. In this pattern we see two men, two acts and two universal results. Adam was a “…pattern of the one to come,” in that both Adam and Jesus Christ were men who by one act had a universal effect on mankind. Scripture compares and contrasts Jesus and Adam in two very key places: Romans 5:12-21 and I Corinthians 15:21-58.
This first Adam was a threefold being of body, soul and spirit, perfect in every aspect, physically, mentally and spiritually. In Luke 3:38 he is referred to as “the son of God,” for God’s Spirit was upon him. Adam could commune with God without fear or condemnation for there was no sin or death on the earth until Adam was tempted, disobeyed God and fell from his glorious position as lord of the earth. Thus, Adam forfeited his dominion on the earth and his relationship with God was changed drastically. Because of this, sin and death entered the world and became the inheritance of every man for “in Adam all die” (I Corinthians 15:22).
It was Adam’s disobedience that introduced “sin” into God’s perfect creation. Thus, a state of corruption was imposed upon God’s perfect Creation, which would require a process of redemption. This entrance of sin ushered in death (Romans 5:12-21). Adam and Eve disobeyed God, which was an individual act of “sin.” This one unrighteous act catalyzed a transformation of Creation from a state of perfection and righteousness to a state of “sin.” This made all their descendants subject to death. After that, the only kind of children they could produce were children “…separated from the life of God…” (Ephesians 4:18) and destined to die.
God’s solution was another Adam! Like the first Adam, the last Adam would have to be, first of all, genetically flawless and without a sin nature. It was God’s responsibility to create him that way, which He did via the divine conception. But more than that, the last Adam had to live without sin. God could not be responsible for that. He could only hope that, in contrast to the first Adam, the last Adam would be obedient throughout his life and thus accomplish the redemption of mankind. God took a risk and trusted that the last Adam would trust Him.
Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, was a “lamb from out of the flock.” Like us, he was a man, but unlike us he was “without spot or blemish.” That qualified him as an acceptable sacrifice. The last Adam is the solution to the problem of sin and death that the first Adam introduced. Because the last Adam also had to be a man, he had to start as a seed and be born of a woman (Gen. 3:15). In order to have the potential to become the redeemer of mankind, he had to start with a sinless nature like the first Adam. God put a perfect human seed into the womb of a virgin named Mary, which resulted in a child with the same flawlessness genetics as the first Adam (Luke 1:30-35).
Scripture makes it plain that the Redeemer had to be a man so that he could die for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 2:9,14; Romans 5:17). Justice required that a representative of the race of those who sinned be the one to die to atone for that sin. This is the irrefutable logic of Romans 5:12-17. Christ’s death paid for sin. Christ is called a “sacrifice” (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:26), a “sin offering” (Isaiah 53:10), a “ransom” (Matthew 20:28; I Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 9:15) and an “atoning sacrifice” (Romans 3:25; I John 2:2; 4:10).
Jesus Christ’s original genetic purity, coupled with his sinless life, made him the perfect sacrifice for both the sin nature all men inherited from the first Adam and the corresponding sinful behavior of all men who would ever live. Because of His son’s substitutionary sacrifice, God then had the legal right to extend grace to mankind. Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice and died for, or in place of, all men. Thus, those who appropriate unto themselves the benefits of this sacrifice by faith in Christ’s atoning death exchange their inherent guilt for his righteousness. Hallelujah!
By Wayne Clapp