The Entire Race Falls and Rises Together

The Bible clearly reveals that the entire race essentially falls and rises together. “In Adam all die.” Together we plunge into sin and misery under the headship and representation of our father Adam. “In Christ shall all be made alive.” Together we finally rise to newness of life to be received and embraced by the Father of all spirits, to live and to love, forever bound together as a holy family.

 As Paul says in Romans 5:

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (:18-21).

Tragically, we often gloss over a passage like this without really stopping to think. Paul here is not distinguishing between the Christian and the mass of lost humanity. He is not making a contrast, but rather a comparison between the representation of Adam and the representation of Christ, with his focus being the universal scope of each. The all and many in both cases are one universal humanity, comprising each and every person, who are jointly and individually the benefactors of both the disobedience of Adam and the obedience of Christ. Paul isn’t considering different classes of men, but mankind as a whole.

Now what was the result of Adam’s transgression? It was universal condemnation of all, without first consulting them or asking for their contribution. The result of Adam’s disobedience was complete and universal in its scope and consequence, plunging each and every member of his race into sin and spiritual separation from God.

Now, just as Adam’s sin had a direct, powerful, irresistible effect on the whole for evil, so the righteous act of Christ has a direct, powerful, irresistible effect on the whole for good. Just as one sin resulted in universal, real, actual condemnation, so the one act of righteousness performed by Christ, the second Adam, results in universal, real, actual justification, not just an opportunity to cast your lot in with Jesus, not just the offer of life, but the real, actual, powerful impartation of life! The real actual, powerful communication of righteousness! The plain language of the text allows for nothing less!

Allan Ernest Chevrier
Whatever Became of Melanie? (2005), pages 138-139

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