The Need for Jesus (Part 4): The Second Adam - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Biblical Wisdom Faith
October 30, 2016

The Need for Jesus (Part 4): The Second Adam

In part 3 of this blog, we discovered that Jesus is the One Seed of Abraham, sent to fulfill God’s covenant with Abraham (view part 1 and part 2). So this would beckon the question, “How was Abraham justified?” By faith, the Bible says. God accepted Abraham by faith long before He gave the Law to Moses and even before God told Abraham to observe circumcision. He saved Abraham by faith which shows that Gentiles as well as Jews can be saved. The Mosaic Covenant did not do away with the Covenant made with Abraham; it could not nullify a promise made already. The Mosaic Covenant was a temporary application of God’s promises to Abraham until the true heir of those promises, Jesus, was born.

Paul writes, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) Isaac, whom Abraham almost sacrificed at God’s command, was only an illustration, a type, of Christ. But Christ was really sacrificed. Jesus therefore is the recipient of the great promises made to Abraham: that his offspring would be as many as the stars in the sky (Israel under the Old Covenant, the church today), that he would inherit a land (Canaan, and now all the world), and that in Him all the nations of the earth would be blessed (by Israel’s witness to its neighbors, now by the Church’s worldwide testimony.) (Genesis 12:1-3) The nations are blessed by being saved through faith in Christ, just as Abraham was saved by faith alone. (Galatians 3:6-8)

When a person believes in Christ, he is united to Him by faith and becomes one of Abraham’s offspring. Paul writes, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7) Jesus fulfills the Covenant with Abraham because He is the One Seed of Abraham. He inherits the promise of being a blessing to all nations of the earth when He grants salvation to all who trust in Him apart from works of the Law.

There is a covenant even more ancient than the Covenants made with David, with Israel through Moses, or with Abraham, the father of the faithful. It is God’s Covenant with Adam and his descendants which God renewed with Noah after the Flood. By this Covenant God promised dominion over the earth to mankind and life everlasting in return for obedience. But Adam failed and was expelled from Paradise. Since then everyone has died. Before expelling Adam from the Garden, God said, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19) But God also left Adam and Eve with hope. To the serpent God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15) God would not allow friendship between man and Satan to last.

Jesus fulfills God’s Covenant with Adam by perfectly obeying the Law. He never sinned. He was at war with Satan, resisting His temptations and casting out demons. Where the first Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. He is the Second Adam, the beginning of a new human race. Paul writes: “For as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of One the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19; see I Corinthians 15:45) Because of Adam’s sin the whole human race has been exiled from God’s presence. At best in this life we see only dimly in a mirror. (I Corinthians 13:12) We cannot yet eat from the Tree of Life. But in Christ the Second Adam all is renewed. He has conquered death, and when He comes we will be raised and become perfect as He is perfect. John writes concerning the end of our exile from God’s Presence:

“And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond servants shall see Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:1-4)

Adam lost Paradise. Jesus regains Paradise. Who is Jesus? How does He fulfill the Old Testament? He is the Messiah, the Son of David. He is the Lamb of God, who fulfills Israel’s worship by sacrifice. He is the Seed of Abraham in whom all nations of the earth are blessed. He is the Second Adam from whom the human race takes a new beginning.

“If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Jesus is the conqueror of death who has reconciled us to God and will bring us home to Him. As He said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3) No wonder the Bible ends with the words, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

-Dr. Bill Edgar, Geneva College Board of Trustees Member and Former President