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Synopsis of Death in Adam, Life in Christ
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. But, today I’ll hold back on the verse, that is the slice of the Bread of Life while I expound on something.
In the era of the Great Depression, the dust bowl, and breadlines, it might seem fitting that the 1930s also produced a dark comedy cartoon, some of you older folks may remember, that came to be known as The Addams Family. That is….. A d d a m s Family. It was Created by illustrator Charles Addams for The New Yorker magazine, the single-frame comic gags took a satirical look at a ghoulishly eccentric American family. Eventually the strip was adapted into a television comedy series that portrayed the family as somewhere between normal and morbid, in a home rigged with trap doors, and assisted by a mysterious disembodied hand called “Thing.” The television series puts this close-knit, bizarre clan in a rundown Victorian mansion near a cemetery and a swamp at their address: 0001 Cemetery Lane.
In thinking about the remnant of Charles Addams, I’ve wondered whether his haunted family, humorously entangled in the dark side of life, was an intentional takeoff on the storyline of the Bible.
The Adam of Eden also lived in an enchanted world somewhere between nature as we know it, good, evil, everlasting life, and 0001 Cemetery Lane. The family of Genesis lived in a world where a snake could talk and where the fruit of one tree could give you life, while the fruit of another could take it away. The Bible’s family of Adam, however, rises far above the comedic, bizarre, morbid life of the comedy Addams Family.
From Genesis to Jesus, a real-life drama moves from the created and fallen Adam of Eden to what the New Testament calls the last Adam—resurrected and declared to be the Creator, Savior, and Lord of a new creation.
Even the Bible’s emphasis on human mortality is life-giving in purpose, as we find in today’s slice of the Bread of Life. ~ which is sub-titled Death in Adam, Life in Christ. NLT Romans 5:12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. And though there was no law to break, since it had not yet been given, 14 they all died anyway – even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. What a contrast between Adam and Christ, who was yet to come! 15 And what a difference between our sin and God’s generous gift of forgiveness. For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this other man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God’s bountiful gift. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God’s sight. 20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful kindness became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As the author, Paul, explains in his first letter to the Corinthians, NKJV Romans 15:45 , ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” By Paul’s comparison of Adam and Jesus, he brings into focus the redemptive contrast he has in mind when he writes in NKJV Romans 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” With this sentence Paul captures one of the most wonderful and profound truths of life. So he writes in his letter to the Romans, NKJV chapter 5, verse 18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life”
Many have observed the similarities and contrasts that Paul alludes to when he refers to the first and last Adams. Both were born without a human father. Both were tested by the devil, one in a garden, the other in a wilderness. Both left the legacy of a tree. Both died for sin, one for his own, the other for the sins of others. Both acted in a way that affected every member of their extended family.The life and immortality that the first Adam lost by one act of distrust, the last Adam restored by one act of suffering and death for the sins of the whole world.
The result is a life-changing story that puts our own experience in perspective. From the first Adam, we have inherited our physical, fallen nature and mortality. Think about this for a moment. Verse 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.” They were already just like God; they were made in His image.
Verse 8 Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. 9 The LORD God called to Adam, “Where are you?” Do you think God really did not know where Adam was physically? Or. was He referring to the where are you in Me ? Realize that they, and therefore we selected “knowledge” over “life.” And, we still seemingly do the same today.
Verse 10 He replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” So now that he has the knowledge he wanted in place of life…. he in now aware of things ugly in the world. 11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?” 12 “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.” Knowledge, that he now has, allows him a scheme to be dishonest with God and place the blame on his spouse. Sounds quite like today, doesn’t
Verse 13 Then the LORD God asked the woman, “How could you do such a thing?” “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” She caught on quick, didn’t she.
Thus far we have examined the tree the God planted in the first Adam’s back yard. Now lets look at the tree that man planted in his own back yard. Let me shift gears a little. JOH 6: 47 “I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 However, the bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.” Does this not make you think long and hard about the seriousness of having communion with God and with each other. It is not just a ritual. We must and should examine ourselves thoroughly before God with a repentant heart before we partake of the body and blood. We are dealing with Eternal Life.
It brings to my mind the word “Koinonia. There are two basic Greek words used for church in the New Testament. One is ecclesia which speaks of the structure and government of the church. The other is koinonia that is the bonding relationship of the saints, which is loosely translated “fellowship” or “communion.” We’ve got to remember that the ecclesia exists for the koinonia, not the other way around. The church is called to be a family, not just an organization. We need organization, but the structure given to the local church in the New Testament was the most basic and simple imaginable—there were elders and deacons—that’s it. The life and power of the church was its koinonia (fellowship or communion) not the ecclesia (bonding relationship of the saints.)
In I Corinthians chapters 10 and 11 we have the only reason given in The Bible for Christians being weak, sick, or dying prematurely. The reason for this is not having koinonia. The Apostle Paul warned us not to partake of the ritual of koinonia (the Greek word used for “communion” in this text) in an unworthy manner because doing so would bring judgment on ourselves. To partake of the ritual in an unworthy manner is when people partake even when they do not actually have what the ritual symbolizes and reminds us to have—koinonia. It is noteworthy that nowhere are we given such a warning about not having ecclesia. Koinonia is far more than greeting each other and exchanging pleasantries before a service once or twice a week. This word represents a bonding together to such a degree that the parts cannot be separated without dying. This is why the apostle warns that not having this in our lives will result in weakness, sickness, and death. It is that vital to the Christian life.
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