On this Good Friday, we have a wonderful opportunity to meditate not only upon the death of Christ, but upon the hope of his resurrection. Yesterday I posted the first of Four Assurances that Jesus’ Resurrection Gives Those Who are Followers of Jesus Christ: Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection. You can read that post here: https://always-reforming.com/?p=1859
Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21–22, ESV)
In these next two verses, Paul reviews for the church what they already knew, but needed to connect to the resurrection of Jesus. Paul addressed the reality that all people die, and that is why there is a need for resurrection.
Paul lays down two parallel ideas—first, that death came to all of humanity through a single man, Adam, in the Garden of Eden, when he disobeyed God.
Then, secondly, resurrection of the dead has come to humanity through another single person, Jesus Christ, who on the cross obeyed God by dying in the sinner’s place.
Verse 21 gives a profound truth that the world we live in simply cannot grasp as it should. We find that people in general think that they are good people, maybe a little flawed, but good at heart. Nothing serious. Of course, there are a few bad apples that mess things up for the world. But most people are good.
But in the Garden, there was one law given by God. Don’t eat the fruit. That was it. One law. And Adam and Eve broke it. One law. And what was the penalty? Death. A broken relationship with God and death.
Now look at verse 22. It gives more detail regarding verse 21. It uses names here. “As in Adam all die.” Paul is assuming we all know this. Why did my grandparents die, even though they were super sweet people? Because Adam sinned, and all his children sin and the penalty of sin is death.
So, what does that say about my sweet grandparents? They were sinners. And no matter how good you think you are, you will show that you are a sinner in God’s eyes because all sinners die. Death isn’t natural. God didn’t make men to die. He made them to be immortal. Sin brought death. All sinners die.
We all associate with the first man, Adam, who represents us as the human race. He is our head, or leader.
But the second part is true as well. Verse 22 says, “so also in Christ shall all be made alive!”
Here, Christ is described as being a representative just like Adam is. Adam represents the human race. Jesus represents his followers, those who forsake everything and follow Christ. Those who place their every hope and trust in him. Those who are truly children of God and have attached themselves to Christ. Is that you? If it is, then this speaks to you!
Paul is speaking here of the reversal of the curse of sin and death that was brought upon the human race by Adam’s disobedience.
In Romans 5:12 Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, ESV)
And in 1Corinthians 1:18, Paul wrote, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Those who don’t trust in Jesus Christ for salvation see the death of Christ as foolish, and we as Christians are foolish too. But these are the ones that are perishing in their sins.
Have you ever gotten yourself in a jam that you simply couldn’t fix? That’s what the human race did when Adam disobeyed God and sinned. It reminds me of when we have gone fishing when my girls were much younger. Sometimes they would get their fishing line all tangled up and the reel looked like a bird’s nest of fishing line. Sometimes they tried to fix it, but soon realized it was too tangled, so they’d give it to me or my wife. Sometimes it was so bad all we could do was cut the line and start over.
Some people approach their tangled up sin-filled lives like that. They pridefully say its not that bad, and they try too “fix” it themselves. Sometimes they take it to others who claim to be experts for help. But these “experts” have a mess in their own sin. Some take their sin-filled lives to Jesus Christ. He alone can fix it.
On the outside it looks like we are all the same. We are all heading toward death—both Christian and unbeliever. But there is a difference. The Christians identifies himself with Christ, and in doing so he joins Christ in the resurrection that will come one day.
But the unbeliever is still identified with Adam. In Adam all die. We are all in Adam and so we all feel the effects of the curse of death. But in Christ those who identify with Christ in faith shall be made alive because Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity.