Estrangement Through Adam;
Reconciliation In Christ

by R.B. Macnab

THE ONE ACT of disobedience, of the one man Adam, was judged on the spot, and he was made subject to death (Gen.2:17; Rom.5:17). No other sin was ever treated in the same manner, not even Adam's other sins. Had God done so, none of humanity would have survived. After his sin Adam and Eve transmitted by generation to the whole race of humanity, a dying life, and through death the judgment flowed down to all their posterity. Not even the "gospel" nor the "grace of God" can revert this "doom!" This one act, of the one man, is the one sin from which there is no escape. God judged it, putting Adam and his race under the scepter of death.

If this be so, then all the theologians have erred fundamentally in their theories of atonement and substitution. Even we who have been liberated from much error, have imbibed man's theology in this respect, if we have taught that "the first death was natural, and only the second death judicial." Surely we might have seen, if sin is not natural, then death, which is the judgment on sin, cannot be natural. The worst phase of this error is the teaching, that Christ died for this sin of Adam, and removed the guilt of it from the race, leaving all men "responsible" for their own sins.

Scripture teaches that Adam alone was guilty of that first "act" of sin, but in suffering its judgment, he not only died himself, but also transmitted death to all his posterity (Rom.5: 12). Thus, God constituted all mankind "sinners" through Adam's disobedience (Rom.5:19). Scripture teaches that Christ died for "sins," "transgressions," "offenses"--not some, but all (Rom.5: 16; 2 Cor.5:14; Heb.2:9).

We have failed to grasp fully, that, first of all, Christ's propitiation was a display of God's righteousness, in order that He might be justified. It seemed very unjust of God to constitute the whole (Rom.3:23) of mankind sinners, through the disobedience of Adam. Men can no more help being sinners than they can help being born (John 3:6). "God Who is rich in mercy" provided a "Propitiatory" in order that those who were sinners should be justified, and principally that God Who had constituted mankind sinners should justify Himself (Rom.3:26). "In Adam" God was estranging the world from Himself (Rom.1:28). "In Christ" God was conciliating the world unto Himself (2 Cor.5:19).

For years the saints have been reading in Ephesians and Colossians with the one, almost the only, thought of the "one body," failing to see the other wonderful truths, concerning the temple, God's habitation, the secret economy, the universal headship of the Christ, and especially the important truth of the two humanities.

Christ is the Creator, but Adam the head of the old humanity. When the "Word" became flesh, He became the last Adam, the second Man, the Lord from heaven, but in resurrection He became a "vivifying Spirit," in contrast to a "living soul" (1 Cor.15:45). As such He is the Head of a new race, "a new creation," "a new humanity" (2 Cor.5:16,17; Eph.2:15; 4:22-24; Col.3:10). The cross stands between the two humanities (Gal.2:20; 6:14,15). The old humanity was crucified in the last Adam. That was the end of "flesh of sin" virtually, judicially. Those now in Christ are new creation, a new humanity (2 Cor.5:17). All mankind will eventually be "in Christ" (Eph.1:10).

When Christ died He bore the sin of the race upon Him (2 Cor.5:14). He died at the hand of God for sin in its totality (2 Cor.5:21). He died on behalf of sinners; His death was for their sakes (Rom.5:6). They were not responsible for being "sinners," though they were nevertheless accountable to God, as His creatures (Ecc.12:14; Rom.2:6,12,16). Christ in His death accounted for their sins and offenses, but all, believers and unbelievers, shall give an account of their "acts," deeds or works, apart from the question of sins, either at the "bema" or the "great white throne," in order to a righteous judgment, before God, Who will right every wrong.

The Father has committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5: 22), Who is also "the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). May we never lose sight of the "Saviourhood" of Christ, when dealing with the justice of His judgments! "O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways, seeing that all is out of Him, and through Him, and for Him: to Him be glory for the eons! Amen!"

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