"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)!
Jesus is God's Firstborn--He started over, from one perspective, with Jesus. From yet another perspective, which is the valid one, Jesus is the "Firstborn" of all creation--everything that was made. He is the reason for the existence of the world and everything that is in them. In the words of the Spirit, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him" (Col 1:16). From the higher view, Jesus is actually the Head over all creation. It was all made by Him, and it was all made for Him!
What Adam lost can never be regained! It has all been written off! God will never make Adam better, or more acceptable! The entire natural order has been repudiated, because it is defiled by transgression. The only remedy is a new creation--a new order. Jesus is the Head of that new creation, and those that have been reconciled are part of it!
In summary, Adam is the head of the dying order. Anything and everything associated with Adam has been reduced to obsolescence--even the world over which he was to preside. As a federal head, he is no longer recognized. Jesus has ended his reign, and inducted an eternal order with an eternal reign. It is necessary to offer an additional comment about this circumstance. The prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles informed us of the unacceptable nature of "flesh." It will be profitable to hear them testify once again. Isaiah: "A voice says, 'Call out.' Then he answered, 'What shall I call out?' All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass" (Isa 40:6-7). Jesus: "the flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63). Paul: "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so" (Rom 8:6-7).
"Flesh," the "carnal mind" (Rom 8:7), and "the natural man" (1 Cor 2:14) are all on the Adam side of the equation. They are rejected primarily for that reason. They belong to a cursed order, an order that has been infected, and therefore rejected. Without unduly elaborating on this point, much of what parades itself as spiritual is more Adam than Jesus; more of the curse than of the blessing. It is the obligation of every believer to determine the ultimate source of what they receive--Adam or Jesus! The Lord Jesus is the Head of a new order. He is the complete focus of the Father. If what we have finds its source in Adam, it will be rejected. If the source is found in Jesus, it will be accepted.
You cannot take a born again person and validate him with things from the Adamic order. You cannot take the church of the Living God, and make it productive with methods and techniques spawned in Adam's arena! It may be fashionable to do it, but it will not be received by God. The professed church may recognize and praise such efforts, but they will be rejected by heaven! God did not make Jesus a "curse" (Gal 3:10-13) only to continue to receive things from the cursed order! We will find that death and condemnation came through Adam. Life and blessing can only come through Jesus. There are absolutely no deviations from this principle.
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