For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous (Rom 5.19).
The typological relationship between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5 is a theological gold mine. We can simplify all of humanity down to this relationship. We are sons of Adam until we are sons of Christ. We are old men (Adam) until he dies and we put on the new man (Christ). We are dead men until we’re made alive. We are unrighteous until we’re made righteous. We’re decaying with the old creation until raised in the new creation. There are only two kinds of people in all of human history: those in Adam or those in Christ.
History began with a man in a garden before a curse-bearing tree. At at the dawn of the new creation the Last Adam is back in a garden before a curse-bearing tree (Gal 3.13). History reset. What will the Last Adam do? Will he withstand the temptation? Will he finally undo for us what the first Adam did to us? Will he obey the ultimate test of obedience? Will he overcome Satan or be overcome by him?
God told the first Adam not to eat one bite of the tree (Gen 2.17). God commanded the Last Adam to drink its fruit to the dregs (Mt 26.42; Jn 18.11). Adam’s first bite killed us. Jesus’ last sip saved us.
The first Adam knew he must refuse the fruit of the tree but didn’t want to. The Last Adam didn’t want to drink of the tree but knew he must: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk 22.42).
The first Adam blamed God’s will (Gen 3.12). The Last Adam submitted to it.
The first Adam clothed himself in hidden shame after eating from the tree. The Last Adam endured public nakedness on the tree for all the world to see (Rom 3.25; Gal 3.1).
The first Adam hid from God hoping to save his life. God hid from the Last Adam so that he would save ours (Mt 27.46).
For the “joy” set before him, the first Adam sunk his teeth into the fruit (Gen 3.6-7). For the joy set before him, the Last Adam endured the cross (Heb 12.2).
The first Adam exiled us from Paradise, guarded under angelic lock and key (Gen 3.24). The Last Adam opened the door of Paradise again to us (Mk 15.37; Heb 10.19-20). The angels that once kept us out as God’s wardens now welcome us as Christ’s servants (Heb 1.6,7,14).
The first Adam got us evicted from Home into the wilderness. The Last Adam came into the wilderness to bring us Home (Mt 3.3, 4.1).
The first Adam had to obey unto life (Gen 2.16-17). The Last Adam had to obey unto death (Phil 2.8).
The first Adam sought to become like God and died. The Last Adam became like man and lived (Phil 2.5-11).
The first Adam gave up his children’s lives for the sake of his appetite. The Last Adam gave up his life for the sake of his children (Heb 2.14-15).
The first Adam have children who lie, steal and kill. They build towers for their own glory (Gen 11.1-9). The Last Adam has brothers and sisters who tell truth, give generously and impart life. They build a new temple for God’s glory (Eph 2.21; 1 Pt 2.4-5).
Indeed, Jesus reversed the curse, undoing for us all that Adam did to us and we did in him. Let us run to him in the Garden-Outside-the-Camp (Heb 13.13) and enjoy the fruits of his labor.