“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – (1 Corinthians xv. 22.)
Inspiration reveals the truth and the work of God. Not one word of all that he has declared shall fail. The reason is, the Holy One is the I AM, the Almighty. Both in wisdom and power the Most High is unlimited. With him is absolute sovereignty. In all his attributes God is limitless, perfect and sovereign. To deny this is a denial of both his sovereignty and his Godhead.
It is an absolute truth, therefore, that the omnipotence of the Almighty is equal to and co-extensive with his omniscience. So not one thing of all that God hath spoken shall fail to come to pass. For his power is infinitely above and greater than all other powers. His kingdom ruleth over all, and his dominion subjects all beings and things to his “eternal purpose.” This was fully proved in the person of his incarnate Son, whose voice at once subdued and controlled all creatures and things to whom he spoke, whether animate or inanimate, raving devils and men, warring seas and winds, hopeless maladies and remorseless death, all yielded at once to his simple word. Jesus spoke but once, the Lord makes no efforts – never tries. Of himself he says, “I will.” To his people he says, “You shall.” “He speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast.” “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” This is our God, the God of Israel his people, the Lord God omnipotent. He is the Rock, his work is perfect. He is our refuge, our salvation, our defense. O how safe and good it is to be sheltered under his almighty wing!
How fearful and woeful to us is our relationship in Adam! Our whole lifetime in the flesh is but the realization and experience of the solemn fact that we are in Adam. Here we sow in tears. Thorns and thistles abound. All the mighty works of merciful power which Jesus wrought, blessedly healing all the afflicted and raising up the dead, were overcoming and removing the ruin that is ours in Adam. So all these gracious miracles of the second man are typical of his mighty work of redemption. To his wondering disciples he said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” “And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from then sins.”
Salvation, therefore, is the work of Jesus – the salvation of his people. They are his people in every dear and sacred relation and meaning of the term “his people; “yet they are sinners. The text shows that their sins and death are because they are in Adam. Therefore they are born of the flesh, and are flesh. So Jesus taught. All in Adam die. Hero none are exempt. “By man came death.” “Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” All sinned in the one man Adam. “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” “For the wages of sin is death.” “That as sin hath reigned unto death.” All this solemn fact is positive and absolute, unconditional and irresistible. This is the dominion of sin by man and in Adam. “There is no discharge in that war.” “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Whence, then, cometh obedience and righteousness, salvation and life! Not from Adam, nor from any who are in Adam, nor from the flesh; for in the flesh dwelleth no good thing, said Paul. Jesus, who spake as no other man, makes a clear distinction between “that which is born of the flesh,” and “that which is born of the Spirit;” for he says the one “is flesh,” and the other “is spirit.” Therefore, that we may have life and obedience, righteousness and salvation, we must be in Christ. It is a divine mystery, not known to the wise of the world, that we who now dwell in the flesh are in Christ Jesus and he lives in us. Paul thus states this truth: “But of him are ye in Christ .Jesus, who of God is. made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” All this we need, and need it because “in Adam all die;” but this is all we need and shall receive. Our God has made his and our Christ all this to us, and it is of the Father that we tare in Christ. Chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and blessed in him with all spiritual blessings according as we were chosen in him. This choice and these blessings are positive and sure, therefore, because they were vouchsafed to all the chosen of God in Christ before the world was. This blessed fact places all spiritual blessings infinitely above every conditional principle and basis, and secures them to us, “not according to our works” or obedience, but according to God’s choice. And since all spiritual blessings were given us in Christ according as God hath chosen us in him, these blessings are no more conditional or contingent on our part than the choice itself. And more than all spiritual blessings we do not need nor shall ever receive. Where, then, is there any place or need for conditional spiritual blessings! And since all spiritual blessings are ours in Christ according to the will and choice of God, why should it be thought that God bestows them upon us according to our will and choice! In this connection Paul goes on and says, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” In all this way of life and salvation unto sinners, the sovereign choice and pleasure and power of God supremely prevail, and all “according to the riches of his grace.” In the wisdom and love of God he ordained it thus, because “so it seemed good in his sight,” and he saw that there was no other way that would glorify him and bring them into the blessing of life.
“In Christ shall all be made alive.” But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” The clause “in Christ,” qualifies and limits the “all” that shall be made alive. It is because they are in Christ that they shall be made alive. None who are not in Christ shall be made alive. All die in Adam because they are in him. They could not die in Adam unless they first lived or had their being in him. When a living tree dies, all in it die, because the life of the tree is the life of all its members. So it is with all in Adam. “Even so shall all in Christ be made alive.” In Christ is perfect obedience, holiness and life. So all in him shall be made righteous by his obedience. All sin and death shall be separated from them, and they shall be perfected in the holiness and life of Christ. His unfailing word to them is, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” This one falls asleep in Christ, but is not dead. For in Christ is no sin nor unrighteousness nor death, but righteousness and life and peace. The sin and curse and death are in Adam – in our mortal flesh. So for the sins of his people Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, to die no more. Thus our risen Lord made an end of sin, and abolished death, for his people.
In his resurrection Christ was the first born from the dead among many brethren. “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Now, all that Christ is in holiness and life and power, he is all this to all in him, and they shall know the power of his resurrection, shall be perfectly conformed to his divine image, and shall know the glory of his ascension into heaven. All this is by the power of the Lord God Almighty and the riches of his grace.
The death of all in Adam is the lime present – ”all die;” but the text and its connection show clearly that the resurrection unto the life in Christ, of all who sleep in him, is in the future time – ”shall all be made alive.”
“We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” In our mortal flesh we cannot thus see the glorified man Christ Jesus. John was given a glimpse of him in his glory; but he said, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.” Paul said, “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. * * * For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” For this the holy Son of God prayed, saying, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” “Afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” When they die in Adam, at the dissolution of their mortal man or body, they fall asleep in Christ, and in him they shall be made alive when he shall come the second time without sin unto salvation. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This will be the perfect fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer for us, and we shall be with him where he is and behold his glory. “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” “Have borne,” is past, “shall also bear,” is to come. We now bear the image of Adam after the outward man, and the image of Jesus after the inward man; so we now, in part, bear the image of the two heads, the earthy and the heavenly. Bat God has predestinated his foreknown and chosen people to be entirely conformed to the image of his Son, whom he raised up from the dead. This good work of grace in us shall be gloriously finished in us when we shall receive the adoption, for which we now wait in hope, “to wit, the redemption of our body.” This will be our change, of which Paul says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory! The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then, O then! ”in Christ shall all be made alive.” “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” The infinite and almighty wisdom and power of God in Christ Jesus our risen and glorified Redeemer shall gloriously triumph in the fulfillment of all this great and wonderful mystery of godliness, according to his own will, notwithstanding the opposition of all the wicked, who hate God and his sovereign power, and the unbelief of some of his own people. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Paul again says, “For our conversation” (our citizenship and inheritance) “is in heaven; from whence also we look tor the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” In the divine assurance of this faith and hope, afflicted .Job said, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” And David said, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” So shall we all.
Hoping to “attain unto the resurrection of the dead,” yours in Jesus,
Crawfordsville, Ind., March 27, 1901.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 69, No. 13
July 1, 1901