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May 9, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned . . . But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.”—Romans 5:12, 15 (NLT)
New and improved. This phrase is a constant selling point for advertisers trying to get you to buy the newer model of a product. The new and improved iPhone X, now with liquid retina display. The new and improved McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, now with fresh beef. Or the new and improved Diet Pepsi, now without aspartame.
The selling point for these products is that something new has made it way better than its predecessor, or like in the case of Diet Pepsi, something bad that’s been replaced with something better. It’s meant to provide a value to consumers who are looking for something better than what they currently have.
In the Bible, we see the most significant instance of something becoming new and improved . . . 1 Corinthians 15:45 (HCSB) says, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” Here, Paul is telling us about two kinds of humanity, the old humanity, the first Adam model, and the new and improved humanity, the last Adam model.
So, let’s talk about the two Adams . . .
In Genesis 1:27 (NASB), we’re told that on the sixth day of creation, “God created man in His own image.” The crowning jewel of the Lord’s good and perfect creation, Adam (hā·’ā·ḏām), took on the likeness of his Creator. The first Adam was given life—breathed into Him by the breath of God. He was formed from the dust. But then came the fall, and with it, “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people” (Romans 5:12 NIV). So, with one act of disobedience, the first Adam, who was given life, sentenced us all to death. But this was not the end of the story . . .
Enter Jesus, the last Adam! In his book The History of Christians Doctrines, Louis Berkhof explains, "By His incarnation and human life He (Jesus) thus reverses the course on which Adam, by his sin, started humanity, and thus becomes a new leaven in the life of mankind. He communicates immortality to those who are united to Him by faith and effects an ethical transformation in their lives, and by His obedience compensates for the disobedience of Adam."
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus brought back life and ushered in a new and perfect human race, a race that is made perfect by faith in Him as His blood—the payment for our sin—completely cleanses and brings those who believe into right standing with God.
The first Adam was given life, and yet through him darkness and death entered the world. The last Adam is the life-giver. “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4–5 NIV). That is what Easter is all about! It’s the celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death, the commemoration of the moment grace and life came back into the world and was made available to all mankind (Romans 5:12–21).
As we kick off this Easter season, I pray we remember there are still so many people around the world, in our country, city, neighborhoods, and perhaps even in our own homes, who do not yet know Jesus. There are people we deeply love and care for who have not experienced the world-changing, life-giving power of a relationship with Christ, who are still under the curse of the first Adam.
Friends, God wants to use you and me to show people they can be made new by the blood of Christ, the last Adam. He has commissioned us to be His ambassadors in the world, to go out and share the good news of salvation, redemption, and restoration. Therefore, let’s be intentional over the next few weeks to show people the love of Christ, to share the gospel of Christ, and to demonstrate the life-giving power of Christ.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.