The Last Adam
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.…

Note —

I. THE RELATION BETWEEN CHRIST AND ADAM WHICH IS IMPLIED IN THE NAME. A name used to designate a party whoso proper name it is not, expresses a symbolical or typical relation between the two (Romans 5:14). Adam prefigured Christ —

1. In the holiness of his nature. There have been only two men who were free from every taint of sin when they came into the world; and there never will be more.

2. In his dominion (Psalm 8; cf. Hebrews 2.). Adam as the lord of this world, and the creatures contained in it, symbolised that King who has on His head many crowns.

3. In his marriage (Ephesians 5:25-33).

4. In his trial.

(1) By God. A course of obedience was prescribed to him, and a reward was promised if he followed it. Do this and thou shalt live, was the substance of what God said to Adam. To the Son of God also a course of obedience was prescribed: and on this account He took the form of a servant. To Him, too, it was said, Do this and live.

(2) His trial by Satan.

5. In his covenant headship. The covenant with Adam was expressed in the form of a threatening (Genesis 2:16, 17), while the covenant with Christ was expressed in the form of a promise (Galatians 3:16); but the fact is unaltered that there was a covenant with each. Now Adam, in his headship, typified Christ in —

(1) The representative character which he bore. The first progenitor represented his posterity. Such representation is not unusual. Parents represent their children, and princes their subjects. But the only case which for magnitude and grandeur can be likened to that of Adam, is the case of Christ.

(2) The vicarious action of Adam under the covenant, which furnishes a typical illustration of that which was vicarious in the Saviour's career.

(3) The imputation and legal reckoning of Adam's vicarious procedure to his posterity. Analogous, in some measure, to this, is the legal reckoning which we see applied to great trading companies for the doings of their managers. So vicarious action was binding on Christ (Romans 5:12-19; Galatians 3:13).

(4) The transmission of moral qualities and tendencies from Adam to all his posterity. The first man, by his fall, not only contracted guilt, but brought upon his nature the taint of corruption; and that taint is communicated through him to all mankind. In Christ, the Son of God, there is a holy human nature. And by the power of His Holy Spirit, effecting a real and vital union between Him and His people, they become holy as He is holy.

II. THE RELATION WHICH IS IMPLIED BY PREFIXING TO THE NAME "ADAM" THE TERM "LAST." Christ is called "David" and "Solomon." But He is not called "the last David," or "the last Solomon." John the Baptist is called "Elias," but not "the last Elias." These were types and only types. But Adam was not a mere type. There was, beyond this, a public and official relation between him and Christ; so that if Adam had not gone before, or if he had been other than he was, or had actual otherwise than he did, there would have been no need of Christ. The common name is suggestive of the unity of obligation being derived from the first member of the series. The special term "last" is suggestive of the obligation being at last fulfilled.

1. Let the two Adams be contrasted.

(1) In respect of what they were (vers. 45, 47).

(2) In respect of what they accomplished.

(a)  The first Adam entailed only sin upon his posterity; the last Adam has for His people righteousness: He is their righteousness (Romans 5:19).

(b)  The first Adam condemns all; the last Adam justifies all (Romans 5:18).

(c)  In the first Adam, all die, all are dead (Romans 5:15-17); in the last Adam, Christ, all are made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22, 18, 19).

2. Let our Lord's success, as the last Adam, be considered in opposition to the failure of the first Adam. Christ, as the last Adam, succeeded by fulfilling the obedience to the law in which the first Adam failed, and by overcoming the obstacle which the first Adam's failure created. The last Adam is perfect, as a competitor for the prize — eternal life to man — which the first Adam lost; as a worker at the task in which the first Adam broke down.

(1) In respect of his vicarious action. In that respect he is emphatically the "last Adam." His vicarious action was perfect. There was no flaw in it (Hebrews 5:8, 9; Romans 5:19).

(2) In respect of the imputation and legal reckoning of his vicarious action (Romans 5:18).

(3) In respect of the actual transmission and communication of all the life and holiness which His vicarious action involves. As the last Adam, He has the Holy Spirit to give. And by the gift of the Holy Spirit He effectually secures the salvation of all who are His.

(A. Gray.)

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 First and the Last Adam
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