IN ADAM/IN CHRIST-2
BY: JOHN GAVAZZONI
Something I read just recently that attempted to clarify the difference between being in Adam and being in Christ got me to thinking how important it is to clarify that very issue. Let me say at the outset, that as one really comes to know the spirit of the Word, one finds himself more and more impressed with the inclusivity found in the gospel and quite amazed at how the contrary exclusivity of religion has crept into our thinking in extremely subtle ways.
Let’s look at a verse that was central to the message that got me thinking: “As in Adam all die, so also, in Christ, all shall be made alive”. A quick perusal of the verse might lead one to conclude that Adam and Christ stand poles apart, so that one must leave Adam to get into Christ, that Adam is here and Christ is over there. But just the opposite is true, Adam has always been in Christ, nothing can get him out of Christ, and the entire human race that was in his loins is likewise positioned.
Allow me to explain. The gospel really begins in Genesis, that book containing in seed-form the entirety of the biblical revelation. Of course we all know the first verse: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. Fewer, though, may be aware of the fact that the Hebrew word translated “beginning” is the word also meaning, “first-fruits”. Completely consistent with the message of the New Testament, we find here in Gen. 1:1, that the heavens and the earth were created in Christ, our first-fruits, including Adam, the pinnacle of God’s creative wisdom and handiwork.
We need not labor the fact that “in Him (Christ), as the eternal Word, all things were created, in Him all things are sustained, in Him, all things cohere and find their summation. That thread of truth continues in Genesis, when we read that God created Adam in His image, which image we are told in the New Testament record is Christ: “…lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them”, “…(Christ) who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”.
That Adam was created in the image of God, does not mean, as conventionally understood, that Adam simply possessed certain intellectual and emotional attributes similar to God’s, that is, he was similar to God in some sense. Often we find brethren, in commenting on the Genesis account of Adam’s creation, saying that Adam possessed the image of God. But that’s not what Genesis says. It says that he was created IN the image of God. Whatever he possessed from God, he possessed by virtue of being in God’s image. Whatever his creature–hood possessed, it possessed IN the image of God. All that he was and possessed accrued to him IN Christ, for the scripture is clear, that the image of God is not something; the Image of God is Christ.
I must bring to bear two other verses of scripture that, if carefully considered, makes the point most clearly. I’m speaking of 2 Cor. 5: 14 and 15. (Amplified) “For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.” Paul, here, makes it clear that the death of Christ was not a matter of it being a death INSTEAD of us all, but INCLUSIVE of us all. When He died, all those for whom He died, died with Him (whether they presently know it or not), and when He rose, we all rose with Him.
Please, dear reader, do not miss this truth. Christ did not die just for believers, He died for all, thus all died with Him, for all were in Him, and if they were all in Him that means that Adam, in his entirety was in Christ, from our eternal birthing in Him, to our creation and on to glory.
You see, Adam does not stand here and Christ over there. The reason all die in Adam and all shall be made alive in Christ, is because all are in Adam and Adam is in Christ. We are in Adam, but thank God, in Adam, we are in Christ. God never abandoned Adam, He put him on the cross in Christ, raised him up in Christ, and glorified him in Christ. If we were to abandon our place in Adam, we would be abandoning our God-given humanity, the very humanity that the Son of Man assumed and glorified in Himself.
We would be forfeiting the exalted place that man has in the economy of God, that of headship, in Christ, over all creation.
Now how could one “fall” in Christ? How could the seminal act of disobedience occur in Christ? Well, dear ones, first off, though it might cause some severe stretching of our minds, nevertheless it is true, everything that happens, happens in Christ. Are we somehow attributing sin to Christ? No, we are not – emphatically not. Something can be in something without it being in it constitutionally.
For instance, I could take poison into myself, but if the poison was in an indissoluble capsule, it would be in me, but not in what makes me ME. It would not affect my physical constitution. It would be in me, but not in my “stuff” of my body, my cellular structure.
So it is with the sin that entered the world by one man’s disobedience. It all occurred in the sphere of Christ, but not affecting His purity of Being. Should the poison (as per my example above), somehow end up being released into my system, I would die, but in the case of Christ, He swallowed up death in His death, vanquishing it forever.
We have not realized that the sphere of Adam lies within the sphere of Christ. Christ is the greater, all-encompassing sphere. What is important is not what is in the capsule but Who the capsule is in. When Adam sinned, that act, and the ensuing death, was encapsulated in Christ, safely contained, within His control. It was not some action which managed to break free from Christ, roaming around outside of God’s omnipresence. You know, don’t you, that in His resurrection glory, Christ shares the very omnipresence of God?
The New Testament not only speaks of believing in Christ, but, in some instances, in the Greek, speaks of believing into Christ. On that basis, some might conclude that lost men are utterly outside of Christ and must break free from Adam to get into Christ. But in truth, we believe into Christ when the encompassing light of Christ penetrates the capsule of our darkness and sets us free to search out, see and enter into the whole of Christ who has always the One “in whom we live, move and have our being”.
As I have said on a number of occasions, if it is true that “…of Him (out from Him), and through Him, and to (into) Him are all things”, then we have never really managed to get out of Him. For to go through Him still involves being in Him. He is our Source, our Course and our Return. We proceed from Him, continue on in Him, and return into Him. He is the inescapable Christ. “It is of God that you are in Christ Jesus…”, from the very eternal moment we shared in God’s birthing of His Son, through our creature -hood passage, and our return back to our Father, it has all been in Christ.
As Levi was a son of Abraham, according to the Book of Hebrews, by virtue of being in the loins of Abraham, though Levi was many generations removed from Abraham, so we are sons of God by virtue of being in the loins of our heavenly Father. We were there within the “One Seed, which is Christ” awaiting our birthing, not from a separate, other seed, but out from Christ Himself. One sperm has within it many sperm, yet to be manifested.
If a man has a son and that son has sons and those sons have sons, and on and on, they all essentially proceed from that one seed. That man may impregnate his wife again with another seed, but in the case of God, God only has One Seed. God has one only begotten Son, and all the many sons of God proceed out of this One. Though there are billions of human sperm, each and every one of them is a type of the One Sperm of God, Christ. There is only one order and quality of sonship that of the One Son of His love. That is why I said above that we shared in God’s birthing of His Son. We are eternal sons of the eternal Father. We have been generated by God Himself, and after being subjected to death, in due time, we are regenerated.
When the Bible speaks of us being born again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to be born from above, or born anew, when we read these things we need the wisdom to know that we had to be born of God before being reborn of Him. Our eternal sonship becomes manifest in our space-time creaturely existence as a new birth. Regeneration requires that one first be generated. Notice that the scripture speaks of us as being born of God and born again, but most folks only talk about being born again.
Back to Adam being in Christ… In closing allow me to point out that if we are sloppy in our typology and suppose that the casting out of Adam and Eve from the garden speaks of being cast out of Christ, let me remind you that if the garden of Eden is a type of Christ, and I believe it is, don’t forget that it was in the garden that the first sin was committed. When Christ bore our sins on the cross, God vividly demonstrated and portrayed that He has always, in the person of His Son, borne our sins in Himself.
IN ADAM – IN CHRIST Part 2 [John R. Gavazzoni] 1