In the beginning, God created one man. We have no record that God ever again created anyone from that time until today. God created all things in six days and all living things which have come into existence since then have come from that original creation. The living things which God created back there at the beginning have passed on their lives from one generation to the next and so, it is true that in a secondary sense God created all things which now exist on the earth. But God did not directly create the people who live on earth today, as He created Adam. We were created when the life of that first man was passed on to us. We got our lives second hand from Adam, Adam got his directly from God.
When we understand this, we can see that when God created Adam, He created all mankind in him. The life of every human being on the earth is simply an extension of the life of that original man, Adam. This is why some children are born deformed, mentally as well as physically. If God creates each person individually, then we would have to blame God for creating deformed people. But this is not so. God created us all, when He created Adam. That one life of Adam is now extended into six billion people on the earth today. Adam’s life became deformed when he sinned and it is this damaged life which he passes on to the rest of us. This explains why some people are born physically deformed, and why we are all born deformed, spiritually.
This is a very important truth and we need to understand it thoroughly, for this knowledge helps us to know ourselves as we really are. Romans 5:12 tells us:
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: (Rom 5:12)
In verse 19 it says,
. . . . by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners . . . .. (Rom 5:19)
Do these verses tell the truth? How could we all become sinners because of one man’s disobedience. He sinned, we didn’t sin. How could his action make us sinners?
If we are speaking of the guilt of sin, then no man’s sin can make another man guilty. In order to become guilty a person needs to make a conscious and individual choice to commit an act of disobedience. However, when the Bible says that Adam’s sin made us sinners, it is not speaking of guilt, it is speaking of nature. All Adam’s descendants became sinners by nature, they became a kind of being called “sinners,” and whether or not we are guilty, the fact is that all sinners are unfit to live. No sinner can inherit eternal life.
When Adam sinned, he polluted the stream of human life at its very source, he corrupted humanity and brought a sickness upon his descendants which is far more difficult to cure than AIDS. The life we possess today is that same life of Adam, passed on through different human beings over the ages, but it is the same life and all of us today are partakers of that same damaged life! We are each individuals with a mind of our own, but the stream of life which was passed on to us from parent to child for six thousand years was a polluted life and all of us have inherited that pollution.
Let us note carefully that what we got from Adam was the consequences of his sin. We did not obtain Adam’s inheritance by our own choice to copy Adam and to live like him. It is strictly by inheritance that we have become like Adam. All we had to do in order to behave like him was that we had to be born as a human being. Though his sin was committed six thousand years ago, yet the full effect of that sin controls the behavior of billions of people on earth today.
When we are born, we inherit the life of our parents. Whatever we inherit is ours for the rest of our lives. This is true of our inheritance from Adam and because of this, it seems impossible for us to ever be free from the tendencies of sin which were in our bodies and in our minds from the moment of birth.
Thank God, He provided a solution through the gospel of Jesus Christ His Son.
The New Creation
What God did was that He sent a second Adam, one in whom was the perfect life of a new human race (1 Cor. 15:45). This second Adam of course, is Jesus Christ, and just as the entire human race was created in that one man, the first Adam, so a new human existence was in that second Adam, Jesus Christ. This is a marvelous truth and it is the key to understanding how to escape from sin and to live the life which pleases God.
Let us think about the life which has been given to those who receive Christ: In this life of Jesus there is absolutely no sin. This life is a life which is perfect in every way. It is a life of spotless righteousness, one which is full of the good works of God, and wholly acceptable to God.
These two lives are the very opposite of each other. In one there is only corruption – there is nothing good and this cannot be changed, no matter how hard we may try, because it is impossible for man to change his own nature. We may hide the pollution for a while, but we can do nothing to remove it.
But in the life of the other Adam, the last one, there is only righteousness – there is pure goodness and this cannot be diluted or spoiled. When we understand this properly we will see very clearly that what we need most of all is not education, not greater will power, not help, not reformation – none of these things can make the life of the first Adam into a good life. These things in themselves only hide the inward pollution and deceive us! The only hope is that somehow the life of the first Adam can be destroyed and the life of the second Adam can become ours. That is absolutely the only hope. Outside of this we are all dead creatures, doomed for eternity.
This is exactly what God has done for us in the glorious gospel of His Son Jesus Christ.
Therefore 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. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19)
The New Birth
Jesus has told us plainly that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). The new birth is a transfer from the dead, depraved life of Adam into the living, pure, mighty existence, the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a real experience, not just something figurative. When we are born again into Christ, God looks at us and He sees us as righteous, but what He sees is not a lie. We truly are righteous because we have indeed been given the very life of Jesus Christ and Christ’s life is holy and righteous! If I have this life, how is it possible for me to be not righteous? It is Christ’s own life, His very existence which becomes mine in the new birth!!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (new creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor 5:17)
You can see that this is the same principle as with the life which we received from the first Adam. We did not try to receive that life, neither did we try to copy the life of Adam. It was ours strictly by inheritance. In the same way, the life which we receive in Christ is not ours by trying to copy Him. There is only one way in which we can receive it and that is by inheritance. It must be passed on to us by the new birth. We are born into this new existence. When this happens. then we receive the qualities of this new Adam, just as we received the qualities of the old Adam when we were born the first time.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)
So now we recognize that our only need is to understand and to find out how we can move from the life and existence of the first Adam to the life and existence of the last Adam. We recognize that all our struggles and efforts are in vain and will produce nothing but frustration. We can see that all sinners share the same depraved life of Adam and that therefore no sinner is better than the other.
The thief, the child-molester, the rapist, the serial killer, the pornography addict, the con-artist, the homosexual etc. are condemned by society in general and religious people in particular. But if those who condemn these sinners, harbor malice and practice evil-speaking and have fits of rage and lustful thoughts and are covetous, what is the difference between both classes of people?
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
There is no sin in the life of Jesus Christ and whenever we find ourselves living in sin, this is simply telling us that we do not possess the life of Christ and that we are still living in the depraved, helpless, lost life of Adam. Because of our education and the circumstances of our birth some of us are able to resist the more open sins, but it does not change the fact that we all share the same polluted life which cannot be repaired and has been sentenced to death!
So in His Son, God gave us the new creation. In this life of the second Adam there is everything which we could ever possibly need. There is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), in fact, in Him is all the fullness of the godhead (the divine nature) and the word of God tells us that we are complete in Him. (Col. 2:9,10). What is the meaning of this word, “complete?” It means that in Jesus, we have absolutely everything that we have ever needed, or will ever need. In Ephesians 1:3 it tells us that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.
What a great privilege that we should receive the very life of the Son of God! Do we realize what this means? Do we understand that God has accepted us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6)? Can we grasp the reality that Christ is indeed our very life (Col. 3:4)? How wonderful is the love of our Father towards the sons of men! What a wonderful gift He has given us in His Son Jesus Christ! Now in Christ, we are the sons and daughters of God Himself! We may come to God knowing that in Jesus, our lives of sin and frustration and guilt, are dead, crucified with Christ. Now we may approach the Father of glory in full confidence and freedom knowing that whatsoever we ask, it is in His Son’s name – with the full recognition that in Him we are the beloved children of God, having been given every privilege which belongs to Jesus Christ!! We have become a part of the body of Christ, partakers of the very life of Jesus, an existence in which sin has been conquered and crucified, a life of pure righteousness which is lived wholly for God. (Rom. 6:22)
Let us make this a little clearer. There is only one person who is righteous and therefore there is only one who is fit to be saved. This is what God knew from the very beginning, and it was His plan, His hidden purpose that all salvation would be in that one Man (Eph. 1:10). That man is Jesus Christ and all who are saved will be saved only if they become a part of Jesus, only if His very life and existence become their life and existence because He is the only one who is savable. There is no other way,
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The problem has been that many of us have tried to make the old adamic life better. We have been baptized, we have decided to make a new beginning, we have even prayed earnestly and asked the Lord for help and for the power of the holy spirit. We have even acknowledged that we can do nothing and have tried to depend on the Lord to do it for us. But in all this, what we were trying to do was to reform the adamic life. We hoped that by the grace of God and our own diligent efforts we would be able to overcome our inborn sin and someday become perfect, but in Adam, it was an impossibility. The only way is that we must die spiritually, and be resurrected or born again spiritually, into the life of Christ. This is the only way to escape from our adamic life.
First, we need to surrender to Jesus Christ in true repentance so that in Him we may die to the old life. Only then can we experience the power of His resurrection and enter His own life in which sin and death have been abolished. If we are not convinced that our life is no good and that we are unable to live a life which pleases God, then why would we need Jesus? But as we recognize the truth that there is no hope for us in the first Adam’s life (our life) we will gladly give ourselves to Jesus. We will turn from ourselves and give Him full control of our lives. This is the experience which is referred to as repentance and surrender and in some places the Bible even refers to it as “death.”
Not Physical, Spiritual
Of course, it is not the physical body which dies. The physical, sinful body will be with us until Jesus comes again to change it. However, this physical body is not the real root of our sin problem and it is not what Jesus will put to death. The real problem is what is called “the carnal mind.” This is the self-centered life, the self-seeking, self-preserving attitude. This is something which resides in the mind of man, but is a very real part of our existence. It is this which Jesus put to death when He died to His own will and made the sacrifice of His own life, in choosing the Father’s will. Now, through the mighty power of the holy spirit, Jesus enters our mind in the new birth and crucifies the self-centered life so that from then on, we no longer live for self, but only for God.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Rom 6:6-7)
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:10-11)
The Scriptures are clear on this matter. The Bible knows nothing of a mongrel Christianity, we are either spiritually dead or alive, we are either in the flesh or in the spirit, in Adam or in Christ, sinners or saints. To be one, is to be a slave of sin and to be free from righteousness, to be the other is to be the slave of righteousness and free from sin (Romans 6:20,22).
The Christian world today has come to accept sin as the natural way of life even for Christians. They have comforted themselves with the thought that “if any man sin we have an advocate with the father (1 John 2:1).” So in the majority of cases the only difference between professing Christians and open unbelievers, is the kinds of sin and the degrees of sin which they commit. They have convinced themselves that God can give immediate victory to the drunkard, the Sabbath-breaker and the adulterer, but that He must move more slowly in the case of the “respectable” sins such as covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, criticism, lack of love, etc.
However, when people seem to overcome one sin, or some sins, but not all sins, it simply tells us that they have not truly overcome and that the power by which they have “overcome” is not God’s power, but rather, will-power. They are able by diligent effort to gain the mastery of themselves in controlling some actions, but the heart remains under the control of self and in rebellion against God. Such a person is still a slave and only deceives himself that he is overcoming sin.
How to Obtain This Life
The great question is, how can we obtain this life which is in Jesus only? How can we escape from the existence of the first Adam? How can we die to the carnal, fleshly mind, and be resurrected to a life of righteousness? If the life of righteousness is found only in Jesus and is fully available in Jesus, then surely the greatest question of all for the sinner must be, “how may I obtain that life? How can I enter into the existence of Jesus?”
Men have tried earnestly and diligently to attain to such a life. Years of hard work, self-denial, self-affliction have been invested in the search for righteousness and many schemes have been invented to deliver men from sin. Only one plan has ever worked or can ever work and it is the plan devised by God and His Son. This plan is so beautiful and so simple that vast numbers of religious people have refused to accept it. Here is how the apostle Paul explained the process.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
Paul says it is by faith (only). Works are not involved. It is the gift of God, and here is how it happens:
We are His workmanship. What does that mean? It means that He made us, we were crafted by His hands, but does this refer to when we were born or conceived in our mother’s womb? Absolutely not. He is referring to our lives as Christians, the lives of those who are saved by grace through faith. We are God’s workmanship and we were created in Christ Jesus. Think about this. Where does this life of the new creation originate? Why do we live the victorious lives which we now live? It is because we were created in Christ Jesus. The life which we now live originated in Him. All we do is receive it, by grace through faith. It is the gift of God. The life of righteousness, the life of victory over sin is not something which we produce or work to achieve, it is an inheritance! It is something which we receive as a gift when we receive the life of Christ! Oh praise His name!!
Even many sincere Christians feel that we must actually develop righteousness by works!! They believe in justification by faith only, but sanctification by faith and works. Yet the apostle Paul says that it is not just at the beginning of the Christian journey that we depend on faith only, but at every step of the way. We are to continue to walk in the same way as we received the Lord (Col. 2:6). The battle which we must fight is called the “good fight of faith” ( 1 Tim. 6:12).
We cannot kill ourselves so that we can be born again. Both this process of crucifixion and the new birth are entirely the work of Christ, the Son who makes us “free indeed.” Our work is to believe the truth, to believe what the word of God says. This work of God in Christ, produces a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), a new man created in the image of Christ, filled with the life of Christ, a part of Christ’s own existence, whose great desire is to do the righteous will of God. More than that, just as a person’s Adamic nature made him a slave of sin with a constant inclination to evil, so now his new nature (the nature of Christ) makes him a slave of righteousness with a constant inclination to do what is good. This is the work of God and it is entirely the work of God. In this character, this garment of righteousness there is not one thread which is produced by human work.
All that man can do is to receive the gift so freely given by God in Christ. There is absolutely nothing more that he can do. The apostle Paul is so emphatic on this point that he says,
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Rom 4:5)
When we recognize the depravity of our adamic nature, when we see our utter helplessness and worthlessness, then we will turn away from all self-effort, all self-dependence. Then we will truly repent, not just of our sins, but of the root of our sin problem – the self-life. We will see that turning from sinful actions is not good enough, we will see that we must turn away from Adam’s life, the self-life which is the source of all sin. We will then understand and believe that our only hope of ever living right lies in God’s gift alone. All self-effort will be abandoned and we will cast ourselves upon Christ. It is then, and only then that true righteousness will appear in our lives as we allow Him full control, as we, by faith, accept and live by the reality that His life has become our life and that we are a part of His own righteous existence, thus we will live His perfect life. This is the truth, the simple truth of the word of God.
The question is, shall we embrace this truth with all our hearts? Will we accept in full faith, the wonderful reality that God has given us, in Jesus, the complete answer to the problem of sin? Will we acknowledge and live by the reality that it is His work and involves nothing of man’s work and that our only need is to believe and to keep on believing? Let us conclude with some pertinent words from the apostle Paul.
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (Rom 9:30-32)
(Source: David Clayton from Restoration Ministry)