Adam. Christ. Death. Life. Sin. Grace. Trespass. Free Gift. Judgment. Justification. Through one, all are sinners. Through one, all are righteous. Adam. Christ. Death. Life. One at the beginning. One at the end. One the lesser. One the greater. One the type. One the fulfillement. Both are human. Both are tempted. One was disobedient. One was obedient. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” One man is overcome by a tree. One man overcomes by a tree. One man listens to the serpent. One man crushes him. One man hears the prophecy. One man is the fulfillment. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Adam died as the penalty for his own sin. Christ died as the penalty for all sin. Through Adam death comes into the world. Through Christ death is overcome by life. “If, because of the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Adam. Christ. Death. Life. Adam was disobedient. Christ was obedient. Satan tempted Adam’s desires. “The tree was good for food, and…it was a delight to the eyes.” Satan tempted Christ’s desires. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Adam was disobedient. “She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Christ was obedient. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Adam gave into desire, letting his cravings rule over the Word of God. Christ lets the Word of God rule over all else. Adam falls. Christ stands. Adam brings death. Christ brings life.
Death rules in all humanity because all have sinned, because you have sinned following Adam’s example and pattern. Life rules in all believers because they have been given it, because you have been shown grace in the death and resurrection of Christ. You die because you are sinful. You live forever because of the free gift of grace. “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” You die because you have inherited a corrupted nature from your parents. You live because you have inherited a new nature from Christ. Adam. Christ. One is lesser. One is greater. You die in the pattern of Adam. You live in the pattern of Christ. Death entered this world through Adam’s sin. Life enters again through Christ’s grace. From Adam’s sin comes cancer, heart disease, stroke, car accidents, and war; aging, colds, flus, birth defects, disabilities, and finally death. From Christ’s free gift of grace comes the destruction of all disease and all corruption, and a life that never ends. Death reigns in this world. Life reigns in eternity.
Adam. Christ. Death. Life. One is disobedient. One is obedient. Adam heard God’s Word. “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for…you shall surely die.” Christ heard God’s Word. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Satan tempts Adam to doubt the Word. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” Satan tempts Christ to doubt the Word. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” Satan wants Adam to question God’s command, to look for loopholes and grays where there is only black and white. Satan wants Christ to question what God has said about Him, to wonder whether He is truly God’s beloved Son. Satan twists God’s Word, molding it to His own purposes, making the clear unclear. Satan pulls a text out of context, using it to support His own agenda, rather than letting the Word speak for itself. Satan tempts Adam to doubt: “Did God actually say?” Satan tempts Christ to doubt: “If you are the Son of God.”
Adam is disobedient. “She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Christ is obedient. “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Adam brings condemnation to all, condemnation to you. Christ brings justification to all, justification to you. “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” In Adam, we are condemned to hell. In Christ, we are given heaven. In Adam, we deserve God’s wrath. In Christ, that wrath has been satisfied. Adam introduced condemnation. Christ suffered under it. “Therefore, as one trespass lead to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” Adam’s one act introduced death into the world. Christ’s one act—His life, death, and resurrection—brings life in the midst of death.
Adam. Christ. Death. Life. One is disobedient. One is obedient. Satan tempts Adam to seek after divinity. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” Satan tempts Christ to grasp after worldly power. “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’” Satan offers Adam what we all want—to be our own god, to call our own shots, to be in charge of our lives. Satan offers to Christ what we all want—power and influence, authority over others, money and possessions. Satan lies to Adam: men cannot become our own gods, we do not have ultimate authority, we are creatures, not the Creator. Satan lies to Christ: the treasures of this world are not his to give.
Adam listens to Satan’s lies. Christ refuses to hear them. Adam seeks his own will, his own good. Christ seeks the will of the father, the good of the world, your good and mine. Adam is disobedient. “She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Christ is obedient. “Be gone, Satan!” Adam let Satan talk and tempt, he allowed the serpent to spin his lies. Christ rebukes the foe and casts him away. Adam failed and death is the penalty. Christ triumphed and His death will be the final victory. In Adam we are declared by God to be sinners. In Christ, we are declared by God to be righteous. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Our conception in Adam’s line brings us sin and death. Our new birth in Christ through the water and the Word brings us righteousness and life. Our first birth condemns. Our second birth acquits. Our first birth brings judgment. Our second birth brings justification. Adam’s disobedience is our disobedience, because he has passed on his corrupt nature, we sin in his pattern. Christ’s obedience is our obedience, because He has given us His righteousness, we have life in His pattern. In Adam we are given the old man of sin. In Christ, we are given the new man of righteousness.
Adam. Christ. Death. Life. One was disobedient. One was obedient. Both dwell in you. As a child of Adam, you have a sinful nature. As a child of God in Christ, you have a righteous nature. You are at the same time saint and sinner. Adam’s nature, the old man, doesn’t leave you until you leave this earth. Christ’s nature, the new man, is in you through your Baptism, and it will be your identity for eternity. The contest between Adam and Christ is therefore waged within you. “[Baptism] indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” You carry the old Adam around your neck each and every day, and through him Satan entices you to follow your forefather into sin. But take heart, Christ has triumphed. Your sin is defeated, it is forgiven, the victory remains with Christ. “With might of ours can naught be done, soon were our loss effected; but for us fights the valiant One, whom God Himself elected. Ask ye, who is this? Jesus Christ it is. Of Sabaoth Lord, and there’s none other God; He holds the field forever.”
Adam failed, and we all suffer. Christ triumphed, and we all have life. Through Adam death came to all men. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Through Christ life comes to all who believe. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” One act of disobedience brought us suffering and death. One act of obedience brings us life and salvation. Adam swallowed the fruit, and death entered this world. Christ swallowed death, and life came again. Because of Adam, we have tombs. Because of Christ, those tombs will one day be empty. In Adam, you stood condemned. In Christ you stand forgiven. Forgiveness robs the old man of his power, it defangs Satan; there is nothing he can do to you. “The free gift is not like the trespass.” It is better, it is greater, the free gift of God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ overcomes every trespass, even the trespass that started it all. Adam. Christ. Death. Life. “Our victory has been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.” In the name of Jesus, Amen.