Christ, the Last Adam and Second Man.

1 Cor. 15:45-47.

[04 1863 348] I desire to say a few words upon the remarkable contrast between Adam and Christ that is given us in this passage. Christ is called "the Second Man" and "the last Adam." I believe there is a volume of truth in each of these designations, and of truth too needed for this day in which we live. For what a sentence upon all that is of man? What rich comfort, too, in such a Christ! And surely all is needed when the energies of men are put forth with increasing pride and self-confidence, when there seems nothing, as far as human hopes and expectations at least can measure, withholden from the domain of man's power. "The second man" writes death and condemnation upon all that has been in or of man morally. Before God, and therefore before the eye of faith, humanity is summed up in Adam. And whatever may be the pretensions of men, whatever earth may boast of in this or that man that has been born since, the Holy Ghost closes all in him that fell, that sinned, that brought in, along with sin, shame, and woe, and death. For the judgment of God was rendered necessary by sin, though it was, one may surely say, most painful even to God. For God in His own nature is not a Judge: it is what sin has morally compelled Him to be. "God is love." No circumstances made Him to be such. He was love entirely apart from all causes. But had there been no sin, there would have been no judgment. Therefore I say, sin made it needful that God should be a Judge, whereas no possible circumstances could have drawn out love where love was not already. It would be most derogatory to His nature to suppose that God became love. God is love as truly as He is light: the divine judgment is a necessity created by sin. But as to man, all that the Holy Ghost can say about him is contained, as it were, in the man that transgressed God's command, and thus rendered it due to God's majesty that He should assume a new character as far as man on the earth was concerned, i.e., to be a Judge, and to deal with Him even in paradise in that capacity. For when the Spirit of God calls our Lord the "Second Man," it is as good as telling us that all other men are only the reproduction of the first man. When you have known "the first man," you have all that can be said about man as such. When Christ appeared, then for the first time there was another man. All others were of the same stock; and you had the sample of the common character in him who first of all broke down and went away from God, and was driven out afterwards in shame by the command of Him who is love. Such is man.

But what a joy for us to know that He who was made flesh is "the Second Man" — a new kind of man altogether, as risen from the dead. For although truly man as much as you or I, yet the Holy Ghost gives Him this term of new and special honour. And it is not more true to insist upon it that Christ is a real man than that, as now entered into the resurrection-state, He is another sort of man, for whom the Holy Ghost reserves this remarkable title — "the Second Man." Generations upon generations of men there might have been; but they were no other than "the first man." Generations are going on still, whose associations are only with "the first man." But I look up, and by faith I behold now — risen from the dead, at the right hand of God, another, even "the Second Man." Man has broken through death; man has spoiled Satan; man has entered into a new region altogether; man is the object of the delight of God, of the worship of all heaven.

What a wondrous thought this is for that poor weak creature! Man as he was disappears before the eye of faith. We know what he is; he is "the first man," he is like Adam. But now we know another man altogether. And, thanks be to God! He who is "the Second Man" is "the Last Adam." There is no other man — no other state or condition into which man can be brought: there can be no advance upon the Risen Man at the right hand of God. Humanity in Him is fixed in blessedness and glory before God. So that if "the first man" sweeps the whole world into one common grave of death, and pronounces condemnation upon the ways of the race, "the Second Man" lifts up our hearts, and rejoices them in the apprehension of what He is in heaven, and of what we too shall be with Him. For He who is risen from the grave, the conqueror of death, has lifted us up along with, yea in, Himself; and as sure as He is in heaven, we shall have our portion with Him there. And we should desire practically that our place now, and our ways and conversation, should not be with Adam that fell, but with "the Second Man," "the Last Adam." Is it so with us? Let us ask not only for ourselves personally, but for our belongings: for there is many a man that shows the world, not so much in his own spirit, as in what he desires and seeks for those that belong to him. And you will often see pride or vanity, not so much perhaps in the parent personally, as in that which he gives to or winks at in the child. The Lord grant that we may neither do nor allow a single thing that would grieve Himself! It matters little whether we stand in twenty things, if there is one in which we deliberately sanction what is contrary to the Second Man. What a shame this should be for us! Let us look well to it that we stand having our eyes fixed upon Him to whom we belong, even "the heavenly." For this is another term used of our Lord here. "As in the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." These blessed titles or descriptions belong to Him in their fullness only as risen from the dead and entered into glory; as such He is "the Second Man, the Last Adam," the heavenly one. No doubt He was and is "the Lord from heaven:" else neither could have been said of Him. And in this too is another element of our joy and glory, that He who as the glorified Man is the object of heaven's delight and praise, is the mighty God Himself — the only-begotten Son. Hence man's blessing is secured for ever in His one divided person. We are bound up with Him with an indissoluble bond that has already passed through death. But He is risen from the dead; and we stand in His own resurrection-life, and wait for the day when "we shall wear the image of the heavenly."

Meanwhile, be it ours to walk as those that are consciously His, and one with Him even now.