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Two Men

by David A. DePra

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection

of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be

made alive. (I Cor. 15:22)

     The Bible is the story of TWO, and only TWO, men. Did you

know that? It is. It is the story of Adam, and it is the story of Christ.

Or, to put it another way, it is the story of the first Adam, and then the

Last Adam, Jesus Christ. It is the story of the old creation, and of the

new creation in Christ Jesus.

     Actually, the picture of the church as the "body of Christ" is a

great one for seeing this contrast. All who are "in Christ" are seen

by God as a "collective" person -- the body of Christ. But all who

are "in Adam" are seen that way as well. These are those who are

NOT "in Christ," but continue to be "in Adam." Thus, all of us are

in either IN Adam or IN Christ. There are no other options. No other


     In the above passage from I Corinthians 15, we see the bottom

line: In Adam all DIE. In Christ shall all be made ALIVE. Thus, the

difference between being "in Adam," and "in Christ," is the difference

between life and death.

     But how many Christians really understand this? How many even

understand what it means to be "in Christ?" That salvation is MORE

than just getting your sins forgiven -- but that it is NEW LIFE? That

"in Christ" we are born-again new creations?


And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our

God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he

him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:26-27)

     In the first chapters of Genesis, we read the account of God's

original purpose and design for man. This was the first creation of

God, culminated by His creation of Adam -- the first man.

     God made Adam in HIS image and after HIS likeness. Primarily,

this refers to Adam's moral and spiritual capacity. The fact is, we

do not know what Adam looked like. But if we were to take a guess,

he probably looked something like Christ looked like when He was

transfigured. (see Matt. 17:2) Regardless, Adam was created

perfect and without defect -- in every way. God makes no mistakes.

     Now note: What God created when He made Adam was GOOD.

Adam was -- according to God's definition -- NORMAL.

     Normal? Yep. But do we really know what that is? Some of us

think we do. But do we have the slightest idea of what Adam was

originally like? -- of what "normal" is for a human being in the eyes

of God?

     You and I usually think that when we look at each other that we

ARE looking at "normal" human beings. We think the way most

people act, in thought, word, and deed, is pretty much "normal." But

it is NOT -- not according to God's original design and purpose for

a human being. In fact, what we are looking at is totally ABNORMAL.

We are looking at what was left of the human creature after the sin of


     We have to get this straight, or we are NEVER going to be able

to understand the real nature of things, or what God is doing in this

age. This world, and all the creatures in it, including humankind, are

NOT NORMAL. This creation has come under the power and

control of the realm of darkness. This, despite the fact that even in

this terrible condition we can still see some of the residual beauty

and design of God. Yet what we see is FALLEN from a previous,

more glorious condition.

     What we see today in this creation, and especially in fallen

humanity is DEATH. It is what happens when human beings are

severed from God. The results are sin, corruption, and darkness.

None of that is normal according to God.

     When we have a world populated one-hundred percent by

ABNORMAL human beings, who have nothing against which to

compare themselves, we will all look at each other and think we

are all normal -- because we are all the same. But we are not. God

has spent thousands of years trying to show us our true condition.

He gave His law, His prophets, and His Word. But most of us, He

gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, the Last Adam.

The FIRST Adam

     God originally created Adam in His image and likeness. He

made Adam to be completely dependent upon Him. God is the

Source of all life. There is no life outside of God. Thus, as long

as Adam functioned "normally," that is, in union with God, LIFE was

the result.

     We know the story. Adam one day decided to be like God,

"knowing good and evil." What this really meant was that Adam

chose to be his own god: chose to belong to himself. In effect,

Adam declared his independence from God.

     This was SIN. But don't just think of it as sin in the sense of Adam

offending God. It was sin because it morally violated the very

purpose for which Adam was created. Indeed, it was sin because

it violated God Himself.

     When Adam broke his union with God -- walked away from the

only Source of life -- what happened? Exactly what God said would

happen: Death. Adam died. Morally and spiritually.

    We have to see that what happened here was NOT that Adam

merely "did something wrong." No. Adam BECAME something

wrong. This was not a matter of Adam disobeying God, and of God

reacting by getting mad. This was a matter of Adam deliberately

severing his relationship with God, and consequently, BECOMING

ruined and subject to corruption.

     If all that went wrong with man was that Adam sinned and God 

got mad, it would have been easy to fix. God could have stopped

being mad, and forgiven Adam. But this was impossible. Adam --

the human creature -- had destroyed what he was. He had sold

himself into the realm of darkness. In effect, the human being God

had made had DIED in every way but physically. Yet that too was

to come.

     There was, of course, more to this than Adam simply destroying

himself. I mean, it's not like God was a casual observer to all of

this. Adam destroyed himself because he was made for God and

sinned against God. Death was the result.

Life is Found in God

     We have to understand something here: All life is in God. There

is NO life outside of Him. There can't be. That's because God IS

life. So, there aren't options here. Adam's choice was NOT to live

with God, or live outside of Him. No. It was to live or die. Adam

would live as long as He was one with God. Sever that, and Adam

would die. And he did sever it. Deliberately and consciously.

     The consequences of this sin against God -- of Adam's rejection

of God -- was that the human being which God created became

subject to death and corruption. In fact, man as a creature came

into bondage to sin, and was now in the realm of darkness. Paul

tells us in Colossians 1:13 that God "has delivered us from the

power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his

dear Son." This shows us where we START when we are born:

Under the power, and in the realm, of darkness.

     You and I often make the mistake of thinking we come out of the

womb on "neutral ground." We think that it is when we do acts of

sin, or break God's law, that we then die. But no. We are born

dead. We are born abnormal. To draw an analogy, we come out

of the womb with spiritual and moral birth defects. There is no way

to fix them. It is what the human being IS because of Adam. We

have inherited all of this from Him.

     Notice how clearly the Bible shows us this. Remember what

God said His intention was when He was about to create man?

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our

God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he

him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:26-27)

     Adam was created in God's image and likeness. But after the

sin, when Adam and Eve began having children, notice how the

Bible shows the change:

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his

own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. (Gen. 5:3)

     No longer is man in GOD'S image. He is in in OWN image. And

after the sin, that "image" -- morally and spiritually -- was not a good

one. It was abnormal. It was bound in sin and subject to death and


     Did you know that there has only ever been ONE man created

in the image of God? Yep. Adam. No one since has been born in

the image of God. Everyone since has been born in the image of

ADAM. We are all born into the condition into which Adam, and the

human creature called "man" fell. We are damaged, ruined, and

in need of Redemption.

The Last Adam

     Adam was the only man ever made in the image and likeness of

God. But he gave it all away. And once he did, there was no way

back. Dead people cannot resurrect themselves. There is no life

in them to work with.

     How about Jesus Christ? Wasn't He "made" in the image and

likeness of God? Well, no. That is because He WAS already God.

He existed before He was born. So He wasn't "made" God, and

He didn't "become" God. Rather, He -- who was God -- took upon

Himself the form of a man. In effect, the Word became flesh. He

lowered Himself to OUR level.

     Jesus was born of a virgin for two reasons. First, He existed

BEFORE He was born. So that meant He could not be created

by the union of two parents. Two parents could not "make" Him.

Instead, He had to be reduced from what He was -- God -- down

to what He became -- man in the most minute form. Secondly,

Jesus had to be born of a virgin because it was impossible for

God Incarnate to have a sin nature. He could not BE God and

have a sin nature. Furthermore, the sin nature is what Jesus came

to redeem us FROM -- which would be impossible if He had one.

     Jesus lived the perfect life as a man so that He could bring

to fullness all that God intended in the first Adam. But unto what end

did He live this perfect life? Unto the end of death. God had said

to Adam, "In the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die." Adam

must die. So God sent Jesus Christ to "be that Adam" who would

die. Jesus was our substitute. In Him would the full justice of the

death penalty be carried out.

     When Jesus hung on the Cross, He was the perfect man. The

Last Adam. But He BORE our sin -- everything about the human

creature which merited death. Thus, it can be said that He bore

the fullness of the first Adam. Romans indicates this:

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.

For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

     Notice something here: God never "lifted" the death penalty

from Adam! No. God did not say, "Because Jesus died, all who

are IN ADAM don't have to die." No. What God did say was that

we have to MEET the death of our "old man in Adam" through the

Redemption in Jesus Christ. But then what happens? Then, once

our "Adam" is dead, we are raised in Christ a NEW CREATION.

Again we read, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all

be made alive. (I Cor. 15:22) Does that sound like God has ever

removed the death penalty from Adam? No! In Adam ALL DIE.

That is all the old creation has to offer. But "in Christ" there is LIFE.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things

are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Cor. 5:17)

     There is a contrast here. There is a bridge burnt and no return.

If you are IN CHRIST, you are NOT the old creation -- "only

forgiven." No. The old creation is NEVER FORGIVEN. It DIES in

Jesus Christ -- just as God said. Rather than forgiveness, that is the

sentence of death being carried out! If you are "in Christ" you are a

new creation -- and the OLD has passed away. You are no longer


     Do you see that you are either IN ADAM -- in the old creation --

or IN CHRIST -- a new creation? And if you are in Adam, you are

in death. If you are in Christ, you have eternal life.

More Than Forgiveness

     What I am about to say may, at first, sound strange. It may even

sound wrong. But bear with me. Read on. You'll see what I am

getting at.

     Most Christians come to Christ to get their sins forgiven. And we

should. In Him alone there is forgiveness of sins. But we need to

understand something here. Our old nature -- the sin nature -- is not

something which God can forgive. A "nature" is a condition. It is a

state. You cannot forgive it. From a "nature," you must be


     We are BORN with a sin nature. It is not something which falls

into the category of things which can be fixed by forgiveness. No.

It can only be fixed by dying. Our "old man of sin" must die in Christ.

We must be given a new nature through the resurrection.

     A person's "nature" speaks of the characteristics and traits of

what they ARE. This, of course, leads to conduct. We are all guilty

of affirming our sinful nature by choosing to obey it. And even

though we don't really have a choice -- without Christ we are slaves

to sin -- we are all guilty of making choices we don't necessarily

have to make. Those are our SINS -- the acts of sin we do that

transgress the law and holiness of God.

     From acts of sin we need forgiveness. In Christ, God does

forgive all of our acts of sin -- past, present, and future. But in Christ

God put to death the cause of all of those acts of sin: The sin nature.

There was NO forgiveness for this nature. There was perfect justice.

God told Adam he would die for his sin, and in Christ, he did. The

death sentence was carried out to the full.

     But God wanted to deliver us FROM the sin nature. That is why

a perfect man -- His Son Jesus -- had to bear the sin nature for all

of us down into it's just death. Only in a perfect man -- the Last

Adam -- could there be LIFE. That life was so spotless and filled

with God's glory, that death itself could not overcome Him. Despite

bearing the sin of ALL humankind, it was not possible for death to

hold Him. He overcame death and sin and emerged from the


     What came out of the tomb that day was something which had

never been. It was a man who overcame death itself. If there was

one victory that had never been won, it was victory over death.

Death had been REVERSED before. But it had never actually

been PASSED THROUGH, fully experienced, and conquered. In

Christ, however, it was.

     So what we see is this: Everything which is of the nature of the

"first Adam" died in Jesus Christ. He BORE that. Thus, God did

not "forgive" the first Adam -- did not "forgive" our old nature. No.

Adam died in Christ. Our Adam died in Him. But this is great news.

For it means that through death we are DELIVERED from the old


     Think about it. If God only "forgave" us for all of our sins, what

would that actually do to set us free from sin itself? Nothing. It

might set us free from the ultimate penalty for sin -- death -- but a

forgiven sinner is not changed as to the nature behind the sin! You

never change anyone simply by taking away the penalty for sin. In

fact, you make things worse. Now, sin remains -- but with NO


     What God did in Christ was to see to it that the full penalty for

sin -- death -- was carried out. Again -- Adam died in Christ. But the

Christ who bore this sin was so perfect that He was able to pass

through this death and overcome it. When He walked out of that

grave, He left sin behind IN the grave. But not US. If we are in

His death, we are in His resurrection unto NEW LIFE as well.

     Do you see that Christ's death met every requirement of justice

and holiness there could be? There was no "lifting" of the death

penalty from the old creation. No. In Adam, all DIE. There is a

full carrying out of the death penalty in Jesus Christ for the sin of


     But this is precisely why you and I are free -- not just from the

penalty for sin -- but from sin itself. If God only lifted the penalty for

sin because of Christ, then there is NO freedom from sin itself. Yet

that is NOT what happened. In Christ, sin died -- it's power over us

was broken. His death broken that power because in Him the first

Adam -- the man of sin -- died.

     So why do we continue to sin? Because we don't believe we

are free. Because we don't see that we are free. Because in some

cases we don't want to be free. The point is, it will take a lifetime for

God to reveal to us what Christ has done. We ARE free. But we

need to have our minds renewed according to this Truth, and we

need to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling," that is, we

need "to work out" the freedom which God has "worked in."

Repentance of Unbelief

     If the only reason we came to Christ was to get our sins forgiven,

there would really be no new life. Salvation is a new life and a new

birth. It goes beyond the necessary forgiveness of sin.

     Did you know that there is really only ONE sin you have to repent

of before you can receive Christ? That's right. Despite the long list

of sins that we all have, there is only one we must repent of -- indeed

only one we CAN repent of -- before we can come to Christ.

     The sin is UNBELIEF. The sin of unbelief is really the sin of

refusing to embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour. It is the sin of refusing

to be delivered from sin.

     So what I am saying is this: The one sin you have to repent of

in order to receive Christ is the sin of refusing to receive Christ. The

sin of unbelief.

     Now, once we repent of unbelief, what happens? Well, then we

BELIEVE. Believe what? We believe and embrace the fact that

Jesus Christ has already paid the price for all sin. We accept His

death as the substitute for ours. And we become raised with Him

and receive newness of life.

     What about all of our other sins? Don't we have to repent of

those? Well, think about it. How are you going to be able to FIRST

repent of every sin you've committed before you embrace Christ?

Because BEFORE you embrace Christ you have no light. You

have nothing to work with. It is only after you repent of unbelief and

embrace Christ, that the Holy Spirit is able to bring your sins to light

and bring you to a repentance or a change of mind. Then you are

able to correct course.

     In the eyes of God, all of our sin is legally paid for. Thus, the

work of the Holy Spirit is to show us what was paid for by Christ, so

that we might confess it, correct course, and learn to walk in

obedience. Forgiveness is finished. We don't confess to get

forgiven. We confess because we know we ARE forgiven. Neither

do we obey to get forgiven. We obey because we know we are

forgiven, and we obey because that is what new creations DO!

     The fact is, it is BECAUSE we repent of unbelief and come to

Jesus, that God is able to convict us of all other sin and help us to

correct course. Consequently, we repent ONCE of unbelief. We

repent ONCE and believe -- unto salvation. Then because of that,

we spend the rest of our lives living in our repentance and growing

out of sin unto true holiness.

True Conversion

     Salvation is a new birth. True conversion is to repent of unbelief

and to embrace Christ. Then, we become, not merely forgiven. We

become new creations in Christ Jesus. Everything He won through

His death and resurrection is then ours IN HIM.

     So many of the confusions about conversion in Christianity are

cleared up once we realize that salvation is a new birth. Once we

see that we are either a new creation, or still bound in the old. Once

we see that we are either "in Adam," or "in Christ. We cannot be in

both. We are one or the other. For "in Adam" all die. But "in Christ,"

all are made alive forever.

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