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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

Derek Prince - Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

Derek Prince - Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

In our previous session we worked through the first half of Romans 5 which was stage 6 of our pilgrimage and was headed Five Experiential Results of Being Justified by Faith. Those five results that we studied together were as follows: One, peace with God. Two, access to grace that upholds us. Three, exulting in hope of God’s glory. Four, exulting in tribulation because of what tribulation does for us. How many of you can say amen to that one? And five, the climax, exulting in God Himself. Today we’re going to move on to the second half of Romans 5, a stage of the pilgrimage which I’ve called stage 7 and entitled Comparison between Adam and Jesus.

I have to admit to you in advance that here we find Paul at his most Talmudic. It’s not like the Talmud but it’s getting near to it. It’s about the most intense and concentrated piece of reasoning you’ll find anywhere in the Bible. I confess in advance it’s not altogether easy. But, we’ve got to be strong, courageous, go in and possess the land. So here we are, we’re going to start in verse 12 of Romans 5 which begins with another of those characteristic therefore’s. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s offense, who is a type [or pattern, or a foreshowing] of Him who was to come [that is, Jesus].

First of all, let’s notice that Paul points out two time periods there which succeed one another. The first is from Adam to Moses when there was no God-given Law for the human race. God had given Adam just one commandment, a negative commandment, but He did not give him a law. From the time of Adam’s transgression onwards, there was no God-given law on earth until Moses. So from Adam to Moses is the period when there was no God-given law. From Moses onwards is the period of the Law of Moses. Then we come to the time of the coming of Jesus and in John 1:17 it says: The law was given through Moses It’s a very important statement. The whole law, the entire law, the complete system came at one time through one man, Moses. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

It’s always important to bear in mind when you study about the Law that it was only given to one very small section of the human race, maybe three million people, at a certain point in history. And furthermore, it really could only be fully carried out in one place geographically. That was the land of Israel because much of the Law entailed doing things that could only be done in Israel. I venture to say—you might question this statement— the Law was never given to Gentiles. So we’re dealing with one specific period and a specific section of the human race. But the most important section of the human race because the whole purpose of redemption depended on that little nation called Israel. Now, Paul says that Jesus was the outworking of a pattern that was given initially in Adam. Adam received one commandment and in a garden, with everything his heart could desire, he disobeyed it. Jesus received the commandment from the Father to lay down His life for the world and in a garden, Gethsemane, He accepted that commandment and obeyed it.

So there’s a close parallel between Adam and Jesus. And in order to understand this parallel more fully, I would like you to turn with me for a moment to 1 Corinthians 15:45 and 47. 1 Corinthians 15:45 and 47. This is the chapter that deals with the resurrection, but we will not go into that in detail. So also it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a lifegiving spirit. There are two contrasts there between first and last Adam and between living soul and life-giving spirit. And then in verse 47: The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

Now as I understand it, Paul gives two titles to Jesus there. He calls Him first of all, the last Adam and then the second man. I’ve often heard Jesus referred to as the second Adam but I don’t believe that’s what Paul is saying. He’s saying He’s first of all, the last Adam and then the second man. When Jesus died on the cross He died as the last Adam. In Him the whole evil inheritance of the entire Adamic race was exhausted and when He was buried, it was buried. It comprehended even the evil of the generations to come because it says in Hebrews 9:14: It was through the eternal Spirit that He offered Himself without spot to God. So, through the eternal Holy Spirit, which goes beyond time, He comprehended in Himself the awful inheritance that came upon the entire Adamic race, including you and me here, and He dealt with it, He finished it. When He died, it died. When he was buried, it was buried. It was put away finally and completely. And then when He rose from the dead He was the second man, the head of a totally new race, the Emmanuel race, the God/man race.

And Peter says in his first epistle, We have been begotten again into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He was begotten from the dead and through faith in Him we are begotten from the dead. We arise out of the depth of sin and the curse of Adam to become members of a new race of which the head is Jesus. This is stated in Colossians 1. Speaking about Jesus Paul makes five statements about His eternal nature in Colossians 1:15 and following. Then he makes two statements in verse 18 about His redemptive work. Colossians 1:18: He [Jesus] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. So Jesus is the head of the body which is the church, His body, and He’s the first-born from the dead. He’s the first one to rise in resurrection into a totally new kind of life. That kind of life had never existed or been manifested in the universe before Jesus rose from the dead with resurrection life. But He rose as the head of the body. And He was begotten out of death.

And here’s a beautiful picture: In a natural birth, normally the first part of the body that emerges is the head. And when the head emerges we know the body will follow. And in this birth, Jesus the head emerged first, and His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. So He is, first of all, the last Adam. He had to be that. He had to seal off the whole evil inheritance. Then He had to rise again from the dead, the second man, the head of an entirely new race which had never existed before. So that’s the essence of the comparison between Adam and Jesus. Now we come to the details and here is where you need to wrap a towel around your head and brace yourself because, I mean, I’m used to this kind of reasoning and I don’t find it easy. If you have a few problems the first time, don’t be discouraged. Just go over it again and again and again.

Now what Paul is saying is there’s a comparison between Adam and Jesus. This comparison has two aspects. There are some points in which Jesus was like Adam and there are some points in which Jesus was unlike Adam. Now actually, Paul puts the points in which Jesus was unlike first, then he gives us the points in which Jesus was like Adam. I have chosen to reverse the order because I think for our humble minds it would be easier to get the likenesses first before we look at the differences. So if you’re following in your outline you’ll see under the heading Similarities between Adam and Jesus. There are two verses. Verse 18 and 19. I hope you’re with me. We’re going to look now in Romans 5:18–19. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

So the comparison is this: Adam, by one act of disobedience brought condemnation on the whole race descended from him. He received the command, disobeyed it, sin entered, death followed sin, and sin and death have passed over upon all of Adam’s descendants, including every one of us here today. But Jesus, through one act of righteousness, obtained the possibility of justification of life to all men. The one act of righteousness was the sacrifice of Himself upon the cross. That word act of righteousness is important because we’ll meet it again. We’ll meet it in Romans 8:4 where it says the righteous requirements of the law can be fulfilled in us. I don’t want to jump ahead to Romans 8, I just want you to make a note of that word. It’s also used in Revelation 19:8 where it says the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

So the word means a righteous act that fulfills a requirement of God. By His sacrifice on the cross, by that one righteous act, Jesus fulfilled the requirement of God and made possible what Paul calls justification of life. We’ve met the word justification before, it no longer scares us. Some of us used to think it was a boring theological term. We’ve now discovered it’s one of the most exciting words in the Bible. To be justified means acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned. Jesus, by His sacrifice, made that possible. And because He made it possible for us to be reckoned righteous, He made it possible for us to receive life. It’s very important to see all through Romans God never bestows life or any blessings on the unrighteous. The first requirement in redemption is that we have to be made righteous. After that, God can pour his blessings upon us. But a righteous God will never pour his blessings on the unrighteous.

So righteousness is the first issue and that’s why it’s the essential theme of Romans. So that’s one point of likeness between Jesus and Adam. Adam, by one act of disobedience, brought condemnation. Jesus, by one act of obedience, opened the possibility of justification. Condemnation and justification are exact opposites. Then in verse 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the man were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. There’s the next point of similarity. By Adam’s one act of disobedience many, all his descendants, were made sinners. But by Jesus’ one act of obedience all who believe in Him are made righteous. And the comparison is important because the people who became sinners as a result of Adam’s sin, including you and me, were not just sinners by label; they were sinners by nature and by act.

So correspondingly, when we are made righteous through faith in Jesus it’s not that just God puts a new label on us, takes away the label sinner and puts on the label righteous. But we are made righteous by nature and by act. Just as surely as Adam’s disobedience made us all sinners, in exactly the same way Christ’s obedience can make us all righteous. Not just in theory, not just in theology, but in the way we live, in the very nature that’s in us. Those are the two points of similarity between Adam and Jesus. Now, keep that towel wrapped around your head, we’re going to go to the three points of difference. We’re going backwards now. I hope this works. To me it seemed easier if we don’t have all that much time to do it, to deal with the points of similarity first and then go to the points of difference.

So now we’re going back to verses 15–17. Each of them contains a difference. Verse 15: But the free gift [free gift of righteousness] is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. So Paul is saying there’s a great difference here because Adam’s one act of disobedience brought its consequences upon all of us but all of us added our own acts of disobedience. On the contrary, when it comes to Jesus, Jesus’ one act of obedience brought justification to us and we have nothing to add of our own. It was totally Jesus. So whereas Adam’s guilt was compounded by our guilt, Jesus’ righteousness is unique and we can add nothing to it. That’s the first point of comparison.

Then secondly, in verse 16: And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. You see the point of difference there? That Adam’s one act of disobedience brought condemnation on the whole race but Jesus’ sacrifice and His act of righteousness made it possible for us to be justified from countless acts of disobedience. So in the case of Adam, it was just one act of disobedience that brought disaster on us all. But in the case of Jesus’ act of righteousness, that one act made it possible for us to be forgiven countless acts of disobedience. Do you see the difference? If you don’t see it right now, ponder on it, pray about it, go back through the outline. If necessary, get the tape and I believe it will become clear to you. It’s taken me years to sift through these verses. So if you don’t get it all at once, if this is the first time you’ve run up to this jump, if you don’t get over the first time just run back and take another jump. As they say in French, 'reculer pour mieux sauter' Recoil in order to jump better.

Now we come to verse 17, this is the third point of difference. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. That verse is so packed with meaning I just don’t know how to express it all. Through Adam’s one act of disobedience death reigned over the whole race and we were all subject to death. It speaks about when Jesus came, He came to those who sat in the region and shadow of death. That’s one of the most tragic phrases anywhere. But that’s where the whole human race was, sitting in the regions and shadow of death. Sitting, not moving, with no way of escape. Then it says in the gospel, on them light has arisen. Totally a sovereign act of God. We who were sitting in the region and shadow of death could do absolutely nothing to bring the light. We had no claims upon the light; it was the sovereign mercy and grace of God that would cause the light to shine.

So death reigned as a king, I would say as a tyrant, over the whole race. But for those of us who receive — and this is such beautiful language — the abundance of grace. That word abundance is one of Paul’s favorite words, and it’s one of my favorite words. Abundance means more than enough. I’ve explained to people there are three levels. Insufficiency, sufficiency and abundance. If you’re a housewife and you go shopping for groceries and you need, who knows how much you need these days. Let’s say $100. I don’t think that buys much nowadays. Anyhow, you need $100 and you’ve only got $80, you’re shopping out of insufficiency. If you need $100 and you’ve got $100, you’re shopping out of sufficiency. But if you need $100 and you’ve got $120, you’re shopping out of abundance, that’s right. More than enough. So we don’t just receive grace, we receive abundance of grace. More grace than we could ever need, it covers everything and leaves a whole lot over. Not only do we receive this abundance of grace but we receive the gift of righteousness.

Again, I want to emphasize that. This kind of righteousness is a gift. You can only receive it by faith. You can’t work for it, you’ll never qualify for it. There’s just one way to receive it. Believe by faith, that’s the way you receive this. Now, when we receive this abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, we are delivered from the kingdom of Satan and we are carried over into the kingdom of God. But Jesus is very different from the devil. The devil is a tyrant, he rules over everybody, he doesn’t share his reign with anybody. But Jesus the King invites us to reign with Him. Isn’t that something! Bear in mind it’s not in the next world that we’re talking about now, it’s reigning here in life right now in this world, in this life. We are called to share the throne with Jesus. What a wonderful truth. Let me show you Ephesians 2 for a moment. We may have been there before and we may get there again but it’s worth it.

Ephesians 2:4–6: But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ [by grace you have been saved], and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. Notice, every one of those verbs is in the past tense, they’re not future. Because of our identification with Jesus, God made us alive with Him; He resurrected us with Him. And don’t stay just in resurrection. That’s wonderful but that’s not your stopping point. Your stopping point is the throne. The New English Bible says, God has enthroned us with Him.

What’s the key word, do you remember what I said? Identification. First, Jesus identified Himself with us. Then by faith we are identified with Him in everything that followed His death. We’re buried with Him by baptism, don’t forget that. And when we’ve been buried, and we’ll come to this very much further in Romans 6, when we’ve been buried then we are made alive, we’re resurrected and we’re enthroned. And Jesus says, Come and sit with Me and share the throne with Me. That’s what I call abundance of grace. The book of Job says that God takes the poor from the dung hill and sets them on high with the princes of his people. You know I know where I was when God picked me up? I was on the dung hill, the ash heap. But God took me, delivered me, redeemed me, and asked me to sit with Him on the throne. Isn’t that grace? There’s no way to describe that but grace.

Let’s go back to Romans, the last two verses of chapter 5, verses 20 and 21. The Law came in that the transgression might increase; That’s going to surprise you but we’ll come back to that in Romans 7. We’ll deal with that issue. Law was brought in to make us more conscious of our sinfulness. but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, Notice that verb abound? That’s the same verb which gives us the noun abundance. that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. I’ve never counted how many times Paul uses the word grace there but it must be a great many times. We just have time to turn to Colossians 1 and read verses 13 and 14. He [God the Father] delivered us from the domain of darkness [that’s where we were, the domain of darkness] and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. That’s what redemption does. It takes us out of the domain of darkness, from out of the kingdom of Satan, and transfers us into the kingdom of God and sets us on the throne with our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to reign with Him in life. And that surely is abundance of grace.
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