Charles Hodge asked a crucial question: “If God requires one thing, and we present another, how can we be saved? If He has revealed a method in which He can be just and yet justify the sinner, and if we reject that method and insist upon pursuing a different way, how can we hope to be accepted?”
The safest answer, of course, is in the Scriptures. What has God revealed?
The first man sinned, but not just once; Adam sinned many times. Before he sinned the first time he was righteous. His righteousness was of his own doing, as a created being. It was the righteousness of a man. However, Adam never had the righteousness of Jesus Christ upon him. What he lost was his own self-righteousness.
When you and I put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior we are not merely given back a human righteousness that Adam had before the fall. We are given the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. God gives us “much more” in abundance, a superabundance of grace. He gives us the full weight of His perfect righteousness.
Adam did not stand in his own righteousness. He fell. If we attempt to stand in our own righteousness we, too, shall fall.
The gift of God in Christ far surpasses the effects of Adam’s sin and all other transgressions we have committed.
The humbling fact is we were all in Adam once, and we fell in him. He brought sin and death to the human race by his own sin.
How can you and I escape the effects of the fall of Adam on us?
We can stand in a divine righteousness provided by our divine substitute that will never be taken from us. It is God’s gift to us in His grace. The poet expressed it beautifully:
Jesus thy Blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress.
The apostle Paul wrote that we have received, “God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).
We “reign in life” even now through Jesus Christ. We have been elevated to a position far above what Adam had before his fall. We not only have been “recovered from the fall, but made to reign through Jesus Christ.”
The righteousness of Jesus Christ has been put to our account, put upon us and it is a righteousness in abundance, ever superabundance.
Because it is of divine grace, all of the glory belongs to God alone. Adam stood at the head of the human race and brought death upon all, so our Lord Jesus stood for man and brings life to all who believe on Him.
Every one of us is in Adam. However, the most important question is, are you in Christ? We have Christ only through faith.
We are under grace because we stand before God as justified men. Grace is the state of justification. Because we have been justified, we remain justified and we can never be condemned.
We have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. There is no other way to have a right standing with a just and holy God. “Oh to grace how great a debtor.”
God was under no duress or compulsion to save us. Nothing made Jesus Christ die for our sins on the cross. Nothing made God credit the perfect righteousness of Christ to our account. God did it because He chose to do so out of grace.
If you are objecting to God’s revealed word saying how can I be saved by something someone else has done for me, it is probably because you are not saved.
The good news for all in Adam is that a righteous God by a judicial act declares sinful men to be in a right standing before Him, not on the basis of their own merits because they have none as sinners, but only on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done by dying in our place on the cross. Jesus took the penalty of death for our sins upon Himself and died on our behalf. Now those sins have been punished and God imputes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account.
You are in Adam, but are you in Christ?
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (http://www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/ All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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