Adam’s Fall, Jesus’ Triumph

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 14, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” ~Romans 5:18-19

What was the one trespass that brought condemnation to all people? What was the righteous act that brought life? The answer to these questions is part of the divine drama acted out from creation up to today.

The two men being described in this chapter are clearly Jesus and Adam. The one man who brought death was the first man: Adam. The one man who brought life was the Son of God: Jesus. Interestingly, the genealogy in Luke’s Gospel also shares the title Son of God with Adam, as Adam had no earthly parents. But Adam, as a child of God, was far different from God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Adam, the one who brought death, failed at a point where Jesus triumphed. Early on in both narratives, that of Jesus and that of Adam, a villain intruded the scene to disrupt the relationship between God and man. This villain was Satan. It may not have been Adam that faltered first, but it was Adam’s sin that brought condemnation upon the world.

Recall, if you will, the temptation in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. In their pure nature, the humans God created could not sin. The only command they had was not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and it appeared that they had every intention not to. But along came a serpent, which beckoned Eve, Adam’s wife, to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve ate and was enlightened. This is where Adam’s temptation came to pass. Eve, his wife, disobeyed the command of God. Not much is said about this part, except that Adam was not deceived by his wife. He knew full well the consequences for disobeying God, but he saw his wife and how she now possessed a new sort of insight.

In considering this failure to conquer temptation, I think of their descendant, Esau. Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac and by right was guaranteed the inheritance of his father. But one day, he exhausted himself to what he described as the point of death and needed sustenance. He begged his brother for a bowl of soup and his brother in return demanded the inheritance rights that his older brother possessed. And as it is masterfully put, in the Scriptures, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Likewise, Adam, a son of God, sold his birthright for a piece of fruit. I could say much more about Adam, but at this point it would be speculation. Jesus, too, faced temptation.

After he was baptized and publically approved by his Father in heaven, he was led by the Holy Spirit out into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). There was some unfinished business that needed to be dealt with. Adam’s failure to conquer temptation condemned mankind and Jesus was not going to live under the accusation that the LORD, “had put a hedge around him.” Satan is a crafty devil and would sway mankind his way if Jesus had not been tempted. For forty days, Jesus was tempted. Jesus, the Son of God, was battling for his birthright. As the Son of God, he saw the value in what he had. Satan, the serpent that he is, immediately resorted to the same trick that had felled so many in the past. “Turn these stones into bread and eat them, if you are the Son of God.”  Jesus stifled the devil with his response, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word the proceeds forth from God.”

Satan knew it was a childish temptation, after all, and so he turned up the heat and the altitude. “Leap from the highest point of the temple, and surely God will send his angels to save you.” Once again, Jesus responded, “Do not tempt the LORD your God.” This time Satan was a little confused, but apparently this Jesus knew what he was fighting for. He was fighting for his birthright. He was fighting for glory. He was fighting for a kingdom. But God wanted him to be proved before he could inherit his kingdom. So, Satan had an offer that he could not refuse.

“These are all of the kingdoms of the world. If you bow down and worship me, they are yours! (invoking artistic license in 3…2…1…) “I know who you are. You are the Son of God! And I know what you are here to do. Would it not be much easier if you just took what I had to offer you? The world would be yours. No suffering, no dying. You would own it all. Just bow down and worship ME.”

Jesus, certainly with a look in his eye that could burn through steel and most definitely wrecked the courage of Satan, answered, “Leave me Satan. For you are to worship God and him alone.” Satan left, temporarily, only to engage him in his final temptation: the cross. And Jesus was obedient unto death, securing his birthright.

Thinking back to Adam and Eve, Eve was condemned when she ate the fruit. Adam was tempted and failed. Could Adam have saved his wife? Could he have overcome his temptation and saved the world? He could have, but to him the price was too high. Jesus died for the sins of his bride and brought her life and was glorified by his Father. Adam sinned and killed his wife; had only he bore the cross and brought life to her he would have also preserved life for us.

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