In Adam Or In Christ?
James L. Reynolds
(1 Corinthians 15:22) "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
    The title which we have selected for this morning's lesson is a question of five short words, "In Adam Or In Christ?"
    We desire this morning to take a brief look at the Scriptural teaching that all of mankind are either "In Adam Or In Christ".
    As we pursue this topic we will ask and attempt to answer the following six questions.
    1.) What does it mean to be in Adam?
    2.) How does one get to be in Adam?
    3.) What are the everlasting results of departing this life in Adam?
    4.) What does it mean to be in Christ?
    5.) How does one get to be in Christ?
    6.) What are the everlasting results of departing this life in Christ?
    Before we begin our lesson let us take a few minutes to make some elementary comments about representatives. I am confident that most if not all of us are familiar with the term representative and what the concept of having a representative means so we will not belabor the definition. Nevertheless we do note that a representative is one who is authorized to act instead of another person or a group of other persons or one who is an authorized agent for another person or a group of other persons.
    We see this concept in our political system wherein we elect individuals, who may or may not be termed as representatives, at local, state and federal levels, to act in our behalf. These individuals are supposed to act according to the desires of those who elected them to those positions of representation. Certainly, as we noted, many are elected and appointed to these positions of representation that are not specifically termed representatives. However, their function is essentially the same, that is, they are to act in the behalf and for the well being of those who put them in those positions of representation.
    The highest government that we have in this nation is the Federal government. The highest governmental representative we have in this country, at least outwardly, is the president of the United States.
    It is logistically impossible for everyone in this great nation to be in communication with everyone in the many countries with which our nation transacts business. Therefore our president, along with other high ranking governmental officials, represent us, ideally to our best interests, with the representatives of the many other nations who are in turn representing their people to our representatives.
    As we said our president is our highest governmental representative. Secularly speaking the president is our federal head. When he acts he is acting for us and we are in fact, whether we like it or not, acting in him.
    With those thoughts on representatives in our mind let us now turn our attention away from the secular and temporal to the spiritual and the everlasting.
    God created Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed into him life. Adam then became a living and an everlasting soul.
(Genesis 2:7) "And 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."
    When God created Adam and endowed him with an everlasting soul He also placed upon him the responsibility of being the representative of all those who would issue forth from him. Adam was, as he stood before God, the federal head of all of mankind, the entire human race. Not only did Adam represent all of mankind but as the first human to whom custody of the earthly creation was given he also represented all of that earthly creation.
(Genesis 1:26-28) "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. {28} And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
    All of mankind were represented in Adam and when he acted they acted. Therefore when we read the divine account of Adam knowingly and willfully disobeying God's clear command to not eat of the forbidden fruit and of his partaking of it we are in fact reading of our representative acting in our behalf and of our being disobedient in our father Adam.
(Genesis 2:16-17) "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: {17} But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
    In his subtlety satan, in the form of a serpent, deceived the woman whom God had made as an helpmate for Adam and she ate of the forbidden fruit. Then Adam made a conscious and willful decision to choose the woman over God and he also ate of the forbidden fruit.
(Genesis 3:6) "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
    Those four words, "and he did eat " are undoubtedly some of the saddest words ever recorded in human history. When our federal head Adam rebelled against his Creator he brought upon himself, upon all of his descendants, yea even upon all of creation, the righteous curse of God.
    Though the Scriptures clearly teach that Eve was deceived by the serpent they also clearly teach that Adam was not deceived.
(1 Timothy 2:14) "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
    That brings us to our first question.
    1.) What does it mean to be in Adam?
    To be in Adam is to be represented by Adam, represented before God by Adam as our federal head.
    To be in Adam is to be justly chargeable for Adam's actions as he stood as our federal head. But it is for our own sins that we must give an account not for the sins of any other. The curse of death which God had warned Adam of for disobedience was justly transmitted to all those who would issue from Adam, all those for whom Adam stood as a representative, all those who acted with Adam because they were in Adam.
    The analogy of our president being our federal head governmentally is unquestionably weak in it's extent and scope with Adam as our spiritual federal head before God, but it does paint a vague picture of what we are attempting to illustrate.
    There are thousands if not millions of people who deny that our current president is their federal head, that he is a representative for them, that when he acts they act in him. Whether or not there is any measure of validity in those claims is of no consequence for our considerations.
    However, there is absolutely no validity for the claims of the multiplied millions who deny that Adam was their federal head before God and that when he acted in disobedience they also acted in disobedience in him. It only compounds their guilt when a person denies that they are a sinner as a result of Adam's sin.
    Nevertheless, we are not shut up to the depraved reasoning of our fellow creatures on this vital point for we have the revealed declaration of God on this subject.
(Romans 5:12) "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:"
    The clear and forceful declaration of God is that by one man's sin, Adam's disobedience, all sinned and death therefore came upon all.
(Romans 5:14) "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."
    We know from the divine record that Adam lived physically several hundred years after he sinned. We also know from the divine record that God had said that " in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". Therefore we must conclude that the death which God spoke of was not a physical death, although Adam's physical death did indeed transpire, but that the death spoken of by God was the death of Adam's spirit.
    We see all around us that like begets like. The Bible tells us that Adam had a son in his own likeness.
(Genesis 5:3) "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:"
    Now while there is no doubt a sense that it was in the physical image of his father Adam that Seth was born, the primary teaching is that it was in the spiritually dead image of his father Adam that Seth was born. The Apostle Paul refers to this spiritual death in a number of his divinely inspired writings, three instances of which we will briefly note a portion thereof.
(Ephesians 2:1) "you ... were dead in trespasses and sins:"

(Ephesians 2:5) "Even when we were dead in sins, ... "

(Colossians 2:13) "And you, being dead in your sins ... "

    So to answer our first question, "What does it mean to be in Adam?", we conclude that it means that we were represented by Adam, that we acted in Adam, that when he died spiritually we died in him. To be in Adam means that although we were born physically alive we were on the other hand born spiritually dead. To be in Adam is to be spiritually dead with no spiritual life whatsoever.
    Let us now briefly ask and also answer our second question, "How does one get to be in Adam?"
    Getting in Adam was totally beyond our control. We were placed in Adam by our Creator when He created Adam with the capacity to reproduce, after his kind. We were positionally in Adam in the garden of Eden and in the fullness of God's time we were born into this life in the spiritual image of our federal head Adam. We were born into this life spiritually dead with a totally depraved and sinful nature, altogether estranged from our holy Creator.
    To get in Adam only requires that one be born.
    Our third question asks, "What are the everlasting results of departing this life in Adam?"
    When Adam disobeyed God and the curse for that disobedience was pronounced by God, Adam and all of his posterity, as we have shown, died spiritually. Every descendent of Adam's was born into this life with a nature totally estranged from God, spiritually dead and in total opposition to God's perfect holiness.
    All to often people get cause and effect confused and this is especially true if the natural mind attempts to discern and explain spiritual matters. Mankind are not sinners because they sin. Mankind sins because they are sinners. All of mankind are sinners from the first breath they take. In manifesting that sinful nature and committing more and more sins against God their aggravation is increased and their sin debt is multiplied. We are not born sinless and then become sinners as we begin committing sins experientially.
(Psalms 58:3) "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies."
    Sinners owe a debt to the one whom they have sinned against. In the strictest sense all sin is against God, therefore it is unto God that the sin debt is owed and to God it must be paid.
    The payment to God for that sin debt is an indebtedness that no mortal can pay.
(Romans 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death; ... "
    The death here referred to is not the spiritual death which all of mankind suffered in their federal head, Adam. Nor is it a physical death of the body which multiplied billions of mankind have suffered and billions will yet suffer. The death that is incurred as the justly deserved payment to God for sinning against Him is that everlasting and unending death of the body and soul in God's holy hell.
(Revelation 21:8) "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
    To answer our third question, "What are the everlasting results of departing this life in Adam?" we submit for your consideration, based upon the many clear teachings and declarations in the inspired Word of God that all humans who exit this life in Adam will be forever tormented "in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" from whence there will be no reprieve, no respite and no release.
    Our fourth question for consideration was, "What does it mean to be in Christ?"
    If the forgoing were all that we were instructed about in God's Word concerning our federal head Adam and the results of his and our sin against God we would be without any hope. We would be without hope for no mortal can pay that debt which is owed unto God.
    Bless God however, we are given in those inspired pages a blessed hope in another representative who stood in the room and acted in the place of His people.
(1 Corinthians 15:45) "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
    As our human federal head Adam brought spiritual death upon all of his posterity. All that are in Adam are spiritually dead. All are born in Adam but, bless God, all do not die in Adam.
    The "last Adam was made a quickening spirit " and brings spiritual life to all that are in Him.
    In our discussion of our federal head Adam bringing spiritual death upon all of his descendants we noted a 'portion' of three Scriptures which declared that spiritual death. Now let us look at the entirety of those same three Scriptures and note that there is another Representative who brings spiritual life to all those who are in Him.
(Ephesians 2:1)  "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:"

(Ephesians 2:5)  "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

(Colossians 2:13)  "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

    As we pointed out from the inspired narrative God's justice demands that payment be made for each and every one of the sins committed against Him. There are no exceptions to God's righteous demands and His holiness will not permit sin to go unpunished.
    In Job 8:3 Job's friend Bildad the Shuhite asked the question, "Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?". To ask this question is to answer it. God will not pervert judgment and justice. All sin committed against Him must be paid for.
    All who have sinned against God, and that is the entire human race, are justly obligated to pay the debt they owe. The inability to pay that debt in no wise negates the responsibility to do so.
    So we see that mankind owes a debt which they can not pay. If there is ever to be acceptance in God's sight those who stand there must be as holy and as righteous and as sinless as He is.
    In Job 9:2 Job asks the question, "... but how should man be just with God?" and there is but one answer, and that answer is declared in shadow, in type and in direct revelation throughout the Word of God.
    The only way that a person can be justified before God is to be in Christ. To be in Christ is to stand faultless in His image being clothed in His perfect righteousness.
    The expression "in Christ" is used seventy-seven times in the King James Version of the New Testament. A similar expression, "in Him" is also used denoting those who stand before God being acceptable in Christ. It is very spiritually profitable for the saint to read and study all of those instances where these terms are used in reference to our dear Lord and Redeemer.
    The only reason anyone is acceptable in God's sight is because they have as their representative the Lord Jesus Christ, a representative who paid in the fullest the sin debt which they were unable to pay. Adam's descendants need a righteousness which they cannot produce, they need a perfect righteousness. God has imputed that perfect righteousness of His Son to all that are in Christ
(2 Corinthians 5:21) "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
    So in answer to the fourth question, "What does it mean to be in Christ?" we must say that it means many things, far too many things to even list this morning. But there are three things which we desire to bring to your attention that to be in Christ means.
    1.) To be in Christ means to be 'accepted', and that everlastingly so, in God's sight.
(Ephesians 1:6) "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
    Those in Christ are accepted by God as being faultless, sinless and perfectly righteous. The are not so accepted because God has ignored or discounted their enormous sin debt. God's perfect nature will not permit such a violation of His justice. Moses was, in a measure, made aware of God's perfection as the Judge of the earth and asked a vital question.
(Genesis 18:25) "... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
    Those accepted in God's sight are "accepted in the beloved".
    Those accepted by God are not so accepted because He disregarded their sin debt but because that sin debt was paid in its entirety by their Representative, their spiritual Federal Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though it was His dear Son that God was pouring His just and holy wrath upon for the sin debt of His people God did not diminish that debt and the resultant wrath in any measure. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered all the everlasting punishment that was due unto each of those whom the Father had given Him in that eternal covenant of election.
(Isaiah 53:5) "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

(Isaiah 53:11) "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."

    All of Scripture is so harmoniously blended and intertwined that our second consideration of "What does it mean to be in Christ?" is perfectly blended and in total harmony with our first consideration. As we said, to be in Christ is to be accepted by God and those who are accepted by God are so accepted because they are no longer condemned as they were in Adam.
    2.) There is now no 'condemnation' to those who are in Christ because He bore in His own body and soul the just condemnation which was due unto them.
(Romans 8:1) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
    Those in Christ are not condemned because they are clean having been washed spotless in the precious and sinless blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Revelation 1:5) "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
    3.) Since there is no condemnation to those in Christ they must of necessity have been 'justified' in God's sight. Again we see that it is through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are justified and made acceptable in God's sight.
(Romans 5:9) "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
    The Lord Jesus died for the sins of His people. His vicarious or substitutionary death was in perfect harmony with God's justice and mercy and it was according to the types, shadows and prophecies of the Old Testament.
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4) "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; {4} And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
    Our fifth question was, "How does one get to be in Christ?"
    We are firmly convinced that the Scriptures teach that there is but one way that a person gets in Christ and that is by God placing them there because He was pleased to do so.
(Ephesians 1:4) "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"

(Ephesians 1:11) "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"

    This Scripture plainly declared that before the foundation of the world, before God had created the world He had chosen a number of Adam's fallen posterity, before they even existed, from the mass of fallen humanity, before it had fallen, and that He had placed them in Christ. He had given them unto the Son to redeem and in the fullness of time the Son took upon Himself their form and perfectly fulfilled the Father's holy law being the perfect substitute for them. He then voluntarily laid down His life in their place, suffering the wrath due each of them.
    As it was not in our ability to put ourselves in Adam infinitely much more so it is not in our ability to put ourselves in Christ.
(2 Timothy 1:9) "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
Lest anyone should despair and fear that there is no hope for them because they may not have been put in Christ before the foundation of the world we encourage all to take note of a few of the many gracious invitations God has given to sinners in His Word.
(Matthew 11:28) "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

(John 6:37) "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

(Acts 16:31) "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

(Romans 10:13) "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    None should ever fear because of the glorious truth of God's electing love, for it is that electing love that has made everlasting salvation sure for all those who are in Christ. Without that electing love none would ever be saved for none would ever have the genuine desire to be saved.
    The issue before mankind is not nor has it ever been whether or not they can believe in Christ of their own volition but rather whether or not they do believe in Christ.
    If God has wrought a work of grace in a person's heart enabling them to believe in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as their only means of acceptance in God's sight they can rejoice that they were put in Christ before the foundation of the world.
    In closing let us quickly look at our sixth and final question, "What are the everlasting results of departing this life in Christ?"
    Again, because of time constraints we can only touch on a very few of the things that are revealed unto us in the Scriptures regarding the everlasting state of those who depart this life in Christ.
    Those who die in Adam will suffer the second death, an endless pain and torment as the consequences of their sins against God. There will be constant crying out in pain and anguish but it will only add to their aggravation and to the aggravation of the other occupants of God's hell.
(Matthew 8:12) "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
    Those who die in Christ will forever be free of pain and discomfort as a consequence of their sin debt being paid in its fullness by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are justified before God in Christ and are accepted of God in Christ.
(Revelation 21:4) "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
    The everlasting abode of those who die in Adam will be one of darkness.
(Jude 1:13) "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
    The everlasting abode of those who die in Christ will be one of illumination from the glory of the Lord.
(Revelation 21:23) "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
    Those who die in Adam will everlastingly suffer the pains and maladies of this mortal and corrupt body in addition to the torments of God's righteous punishment against them for their unrepeneted sins.
    Those who die in Christ will everlastingly enjoy the incorruptible and glorified body which was purchased for them with the sinless blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are in Christ will have a glorious body like unto the glorified body the Lord Jesus took upon Himself when He was made in the image of His people to redeem them form the curse of their sins.
(1 John 3:2) "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
    Those who die in Adam will be forever banished from the acceptable presence of God for He will not permit sinful creatures to stand in His acceptable presence.
(2 Thessalonians 1:9) "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"
    Those who die in Christ will forever be in His glorious presence, in a place that our glorious Redeemer has prepared for us.
(John 14:2-3) "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
    As well as direct revelations the Scriptures give many shadows and types of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. One person who was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ was God's servant Moses.
(Acts 3:22) "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."
    As a type of the Lord Jesus Christ Moses was a representative of the elect nation of Israel before God. When the elect nation of Israel, which is a type of the elect people of God, sinned Moses pleaded their case before God and sought God's mercy in their behalf.
    The Lord Jesus Christ as the representative for all of God's elect people pleads their cause before God when they sin based upon the fact of His having satisfied the demands of justice for each and everyone of their sins.
(Hebrews 7:25) "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
    God has in His Word revealed His holiness, man's sinfulness and the atoning death of His Son for the everlasting redemption of His people. God has decreed that His Word, preached or read, is to be an instrument for making lost sinners aware of their desperate plight and their only hope from that plight, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(John 20:31) "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
    May the blessed Holy Spirit be pleased to enable all who hear these words to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ so that they may rejoice because they are 'in Christ'.

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