The Second Adam A Quickening Spirit
1 Corinthians 15:45-50
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.…

Human relationships correspond with those which subsist between Jesus Christ and His people, and doubtless were constituted to shadow it forth. In procuring the redemption of His people, Christ assumes the standing of a husband, who, by uniting Himself to us, made Himself capable of standing in our place, and answering for our acts. In advocating our cause, that He may do this effectually, and with an experimental feeling of our wants, He assumes the place of a brother unto us. By His resurrection He assumes the relationship of a father, the giver of life and of being to His people. As the natural life, or life of the soul, is to be traced to the first man Adam, so the spiritual life in the believer is to be traced to Christ, the last Adam. But here, however, the resemblance ends. Adam was but a living soul, capable of continuing the same life in others who should succeed him; but Christ, by His resurrection from the dead, has become "a quickening spirit," capable of giving life unto the dead. Note the bearing of the text —


1. The apostle here enumerates only two men of all that have ever lived: because all men stand in such a relationship to the first Adam, and all believers stand in such a relationship to the second, as they can stand in to no other man. We do not see, in the ordinary course of human generation, that all children are born with what is peculiar in the sinful propensities of their immediate progenitors. By dint of care you may guard against the outbreaking of those sins which have been peculiar to the immediate progenitor; but you will not be able by your utmost care to root out the evil which is in the heart of man. And the inference from this is that there is a connection between us and the first man Adam which does not subsist between us and our immediate parents, or any intermediate link of the chain by which we are connected with our first progenitor. And so it is written of Adam, that he "begot a son in his own image, after his own likeness"; who thus deriving from him his life of nature, shared with Adam in all the miserable circumstances of his fallen condition. When God created Adam, He created all men; all therefore stood, and all fell in Adam: all in him became not only exposed to the consequences, but also infected with the very nature of his sin.

2. Now there is no greater difficulty in the idea that having union with the last Adam as a quickening Spirit, we are endowed with His life and His likeness, than in the former idea. This is the only foundation of our salvation. Salvation is not to be found in the reformation of conduct, in a difference of feeling, in an act of the mind, but in a vital union with Christ.

II. ON THE TRIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN'S PRESENT CONDITION. The great peculiarity in the Christian's condition is that while he is a quickened spirit in union with Christ the quickening Spirit, he yet has a body proper only to a soul, by still having, in his own nature, union with the first Adam. This throws a striking light on many passages in Scripture which are descriptive of the Christian experience (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; Romans 8:22, 23; Romans 7:24). What do these (and a variety of similar passages) express but the desires of the quickened spirit to be released from this prison-house in which it is pent up? And does not this also point out the Christian's resource under such trials? What is it but to walk by faith and not by sight? (Romans 8:10-13; Colossians 3:1-5).

III. ON THE CHRISTIAN'S FUTURE PROSPECTS. We are as yet, indeed, in the natural body — the body proper to a soul; but there is a spiritual body; and as we are now by faith quickened in spirit, so there is a renewal unto holiness to this body also, which shall be revived, and glorified, and changed into the likeness of Christ's glorious body. For as the resurrection of Christ shows us the perfection and sufficiency of Christ's work, so ours will bring to perfection in us the fruit of His work. As it was His resurrection that showed Him to have come out from under the effects of imputed sin, into the possession of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; so ours will show us to have come out of the course of sin and of the flesh into the enjoyment of that glory. As it was His resurrection that showed Him to be the Conqueror of Satan; so ours will show us to be conquerors over all evil through Him. As it was by His resurrection that He was declared to be the Son of God with power; so it is ours by which we shall be manifested to be sons of God.

(W. Dodsworth, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

WEB: So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

The Last Adam
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