Christ, The Second Adam
Accentuated By Adam
In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 23c of 83

“…15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. …” (Romans 5:12-21).

[We noted in the first part of this study that Romans 5:12-21 is really an interlude or a parenthesis in which the apostle Paul clarifies a very important aspect of justification, namely that of covenant representation. Very briefly, he wants us to know 4 things from this passage. Firstly, he would have us know that Adam is mankind’s representative unto sin and death. Secondly, he would have us know that Christ is our representative unto righteousness and life. Thirdly, he would have us know how Adam highlights the greatness of Christ. And Fourthly, he would have us know that the Law also highlights the grace of Christ.

In this third instalment, we must consider his third point. —JJL]

3.  Adam Highlights the Greatness of Christ

a.   This is what Paul is saying in the second part of his remarks which is given in parenthesis. Look at verses 15-17. He has just mentioned that Adam is a type of Christ. Now he explains the contrast in the parallel. Notice the words “much more,” “abounded” and “abundance” in these verses:

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

How does Adam compare with Christ? How does his contribution to man compare with the contribution of Christ? The contrast is stark is it not? And it is stark in order that we may see just how great our Lord and His work is. There is a parallel between Adam and Christ, but it is not a parallel between equals. It is a parallel that highlights the greatness of one against the other. They are both covenant heads of man, but that is as far as the similarities go.

·  Adam disobeyed and sinned; Christ obeyed and did righteousness.

·  Adam brought judgement; Christ brought grace.

·  Adam brought condemnation; Christ brought justification.

·  Adam brought the sentence of death; Christ brought the free gift of life.

·  Death reigned by Adam; Life reigns by Christ.

b.  Do you see how the greatness of Christ is accentuated when He is contrasted with Adam? Christ is incomparably greater than Adam. What damage and sorrow Adam brought to mankind, Christ more than reverse in His Church. Does this not give us reason to rejoice in Christ? Does this not stir our hearts to love Him and to praise Him?

The Lord Jesus Christ represents every member of His Church in the Covenant of Grace. Because He lived and died for us, we have the gift of life. We all deserve to die, but God gives us eternal life instead. Instead of being punished we are given a free gift! We were prisoners in the death row. But instead of being executed, we were released, and not only released, but made sons and daughters of God.

Why? Because Christ our Lord paid the penalty due to our sin. And not only that, but He lived for us to merit heaven for us. He paid for our release from hell; and He purchased a place in heaven for us. This is Christ’s free gift for us as our covenant head in the Covenant of Grace. We did nothing to deserve the gift. It is free to us. But it was not free to Christ! Christ lived, suffered and died for us. He suffered and died for us that we may have the free gift of life. In other words, He not only fulfilled the conditions of the Covenant of Works to secure its promises on our behalf, but paid the penalty imposed by its curses for us.

c.   This is our representative. This is the representative of the Church. Is he your representative? God has appointed two representatives for man. If you are not represented by Christ, you are represented by Adam. Choose you this day, which will be your representative. If Adam, will be your representative, you will enjoy life in this world and suffer for all eternity. Death will rule over you. If Christ is your representative, you will suffer persecution in this world, but you will enjoy eternal life in Christ today and forever. Christ will never forsake you. Do you not see how incomparably great He is against the other head of mankind.

Adam pales by comparison. Indeed Adam only serve to show how great Christ, the second Adam is.

If all who are represented by Adam die; what can we expect for all who are represented by Christ, but life everlasting? Adam was but a mere man and he brought so much damage. Christ is the God-Man. Shall we not expect that He would not only reverse the damage, but bring abundant joy to all who are His? Shall we not rejoice in Him? Shall we not place our confidence in Him? Shall we not follow Him? Shall we not forsake our natural father, Adam, who brought us sin and death and eternal suffering? Shall we not cease to try to win God’s favour by our own efforts? Shall we not put our trust entirely on Christ knowing that He will save us to the uttermost.


We have not done a thorough study of this important passage. But I trust that you understand the gist of it. If you forget every thing that has been covered, remember these three points:

(1)  Remember that all mankind are by nature sinners in Adam. For this reason, let none of us presume that we can ever be saved by our own effort. We are sinners in Adam from the youngest to the oldest. If we try to gain God’s favour by ourselves we will fail, for we are already condemned before we begin to do anything.

(2)  Remember that God has appointed only two covenant heads for man. One is Adam, the other is Christ. Salvation can only be found in Christ who is the covenant head of the Church. Only those who have fled to Christ and have received the free gift of justification in Him will be saved. Are you represented by Christ or are you represented by Adam? You cannot be represented by both. If you are represented by Christ, then cease to live as if you are belong to Adam.  Live, rather, as one who is truly united to Christ. Live as one whose attitude and decisions are truly Christian rather than Adamic.

(3)  Remember that Christ is great. God has magnified His greatness through Adam. Is Christ great in your eyes? If He is, will you not honour Him with your life? Will you not put Him first in all that you do? If He is your covenant head, you will surely do so, won’t you? Otherwise, isn’t He is a stranger to you?

Therefore, dear Christian, let us thank God that Christ is our covenant head. Thank God that He stood as Head of the Church and is reigning as Head of the Church. And let us live for Christ and no more for the world represented by Adam. Amen.

—JJ Lim