Adam, A Type of Christ

Romans 5:15-17 (KJV)

But 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. And 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. For 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.)

The key to understanding our text is found in the last portion of v.14. "Adam is a figure (Gk. typos) of him who is come." The Greek word typos (we get our English word "type" from this word) means "the imprint from a blow such as a stamp or brand." Adam is a type of Christ Jesus.

  1. Adam's work is very similar to Christ's work.
    In the courtroom of heaven there stands only two official representatives before God. The first Adam (Adam is Hebrew for 'man')—"made by God from the virgin earth." The last Adam (Jesus Christ)—"entered the world by the virgin birth." The first Adam was pure, upright and holy, as was the second Adam. One was married to Eve, the other was married to the church. "But nothing more clearly shows Adam as a type of Jesus Christ than his position as the covenant head (federal representative) to all his offspring" (John Gill).
    1. The first Adam represented a people—all those who were "in him."
      Adam represented the entire human race—and through his one sin, a sin committed against his nature and in spite of mercy plunged the entire human race into the judgment.
    2. The second Adam represented a people—all those who were "in Him."
      The Bible calls the people Christ represents "His people," "believers," "the elect," etc.
      1. Christ represented ungodly people from every tribe, nation and peoples.
      2. Christ's obedience and death "justifies the ungodly" He has chosen to save.
    3. Whom did Christ represent in His work of atonement?
      Some say He died for those whom He foreknew "would repent and believe." There is a two-fold problem with this: Our corrupt nature would never repent (Romans 3), and fore-knowledge in Scripture means "fore-loved."(Adam "knew" Eve; "I never knew you").
  2. But Christ's gift is infinitely superior to Adam's judgment.
    Adam and Christ are very similar BUT Adam and Christ are also very dissimilar. The phrase "much more" is used twice in this text to show Christ's superiority over Adam in the garden.
    1. Christ's representation is the subject of eternal conversation.
      Christ's representation is called "The grace of God, and the gift of grace" (v.15). We are told in Ephesians 1:3-6 and Romans 8:20-21 that God allowed the fall in order to display grace.
    2. Christ's representation comes after many sins, not just one sin.
      This shows you the depth and the riches of God's love and grace in sending His Son.
    3. Christ's representation brings you much more than if Adam had never fallen.
      "Those redeemed by Christ are not merely recovered, but made to reign" (Haldane).
      We lost something in Adam that we did not merely regain in Christ; we got way more.
  3. I believe Christ's reign of grace is sovereign over Adam's reign of sin and death.
    This will be the focus of our next study so I only want to touch on it briefly. There are only two opinions a Christian can have related to the purpose of God for this world. Either you believe that God had a plan and it was thwarted by the entrance of sin, or you believe that the entrance of sin into this world is part of God's plan to exalt Himself and His grace.

"Who shall the Lord's elect condemn? 'Tis God that justifies their souls,
and mercy like a mighty strem o'er all their sins divinely rolls."
(Isaac Watts)

"Great God of wonders! All thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike, and divine;
But the fair glories of thy grace,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine."
(Samuel Davies)


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