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 type/antitype relationship between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5 is a theological gold mine. In a sense, we can simplify all men 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 we’re made part of 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 end of Jesus’s life we’re back in a garden again before a curse-bearing tree (Gal 3.13). History has been reset. At the dawn of the new creation, what will the Second 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?
God told the first Adam not to eat one bite of the tree. God commanded the Second Adam he must drink its fruit to the dregs.
Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk 22.42). The first Adam knew he must refuse the fruit of the tree, but didn’t want to. The Second Adam didn’t want to drink of the tree, but knew he must. The first Adam blamed God’s will. The Second Adam submitted to it.
The first Adam clothed himself in hidden shame after eating of the tree. The Second Adam endured public nakedness on the tree for all the world to see (Gal 3.1).
The first Adam hid from God hoping to save his life. God hid from the Second Adam so that he would save ours (Mt 27.46).
The first Adam exiled us from Paradise, guarded under angelic lock and key. The Second Adam opened the doors 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 in as Christ’s servants (Heb 1.6,7,14).
For the joy set before him, the first Adam sunk his teeth into the fruit. For the joy set before him, the Second Adam endured the cross (Heb 12.2). They both partook of the tree, but one killed us and the other made us alive.
The first Adam had to obey unto life. The Second Adam had to obey unto death (Phil 2.8).
The first Adam sought to become like God and died. The Second 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 Second 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. The Second Adam has brothers and sisters who tell truth, give generously and impart life.
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 and enjoy the fruits of his labor.