ONLY TWO MEN
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world . . . much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many”
There are only two men in this section of Scripture. Adam and Jesus. All men sprang from Adam (Acts 17:26), but that proves to be a liability, not an asset. When it comes to humanity, our thinking must narrow down to two men. It will do no good for us to become absorbed in hero worship or role models. From God’s vantage point, there really are only two men, no more! Human conduct is ultimately traceable to Adam or Jesus. Achievements can be traced back to two men, Adam or Jesus. Ultimately, association with God goes back to Adam or Christ Jesus. There is a “natural man” and a “spiritual man” (1 Cor 2:14-15). The “natural” man came from Adam, the “spiritual man” comes from Christ. There is an “old man” and a “new man” (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10). The “old man” is related to Adam, while the “new man” is related to Jesus. Strictly speaking, there are only two men. Sound theology builds upon this premise.
THE CONCEPT OF A FEDERAL HEAD
The word “federal” speaks of centrality, origin, and authority. A “federal government” is a governing one, determining what is and is not to be done. When we apply this word to Adam and Jesus, we are speaking of them as the first of the kind. Those that are in their generation are like them. They think, act, and react like their head. Both Adam and Jesus determine the character of those in their generation. They are progenitors, and their offspring are their progeny. But Adam and Jesus are more than progenitors, and their offspring are more than progeny. A progenitor can have offspring unlike themselves, but that is not the case with Adam and Jesus. Their progeny are like them!
Scripture makes a point of this. “So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor 15:45-47). Examine this passage closely! We have “the first man Adam,” and “the last Adam.” Jesus was not only the beginning of a new order, He was the last of the old one! As the “last Adam,” He brought an end to the recognition of that order. Spiritually speaking, Adam’s genealogy has been cut off. He is no longer recognized as the premier creation of God. The Adamic order has been written off–cursed!
Again, we read of “the first man” and “the second man.” Jesus was not the second man chronologically. “Second,” in this case, means second order or type. Jesus is the second kind of man, a blend of heaven and earth. In the Kingdom, “second” always obviates what was before it. Thus the “second” covenant (Heb 8:7) brought to a conclusion the first one (Heb 8:13). The “second” death is a different type of death, through which the first death shall be destroyed (Rev 20:14). From heaven’s vantage point (and that is the only valid one), Jesus is the only man God now recognizes!
This is why Jesus is called “Firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). The people of God are called “the general assembly and church of the Firstborn” (Heb 12:23), because they are the progeny of Jesus. Paul uses another intriguing expression concerning Jesus in Colossians 1:15. “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” Here language fails us. The term “first-born” does mean “first-begotten.” Gnosticism taught that Jesus was a created being–unlike God–and therefore, not Deity. Even today, those that deny the Deity of Jesus refer to this verse to substantiate their heresy. On the surface (and only on the surface), it does appear to teach that–but that is only on the surface. The Spirit is making a point of the priority of “the Man, Christ Jesus.” He is emphasizing His incarnation, when “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Of that incarnation, God said, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father’ ? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and He will be My Son’? And again, when God brings His Firstborn into the world, He says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship Him'” (Heb 1:5-6). The incarnate Word was superior to angels, to say nothing of mankind. The Father commanded all of the angels to worship the Son, while He was in a lowly state–when He brought His “FIRSTBORN” into the world!
Do not miss the point of Christ being the “Firstborn.” He is the main Person, the fundamental Man! God views the entire world in association with Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. For a season, humanity was seen as the offspring of Adam. As long as they maintained their association with Adam ONLY, they were in a state of ignorance and alienation. No one of Adam’s generation was found good, righteous, or clean–NO ONE (Rom 3:10- 20)!
Given O’ Blakely