Jesus, the second Adam

Jesus, the second Adam


In Romans 5, Paul addresses believers, but he also explains what Christ accomplished on behalf of all humanity even before anyone came to faith in God through Christ. Jesus Christ died for people who were still:

  • “powerless” and “ungodly” (verse 6).
  • “sinners” (verse 8).
  • “God’s enemies” (verse 10).

God accomplished his great work for us out of his “love for us” even while “we were still sinners” (verse 8). The result was that even “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (verse 10).

Paul goes on to explain that what Jesus Christ accomplished as the second Adam counteracts what the first Adam did. Through Christ, as the new head of all humanity, “God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for the many” (verse 15). Paul continues:

  • The gift “brought justification” rather than condemnation (verse 16).
  • “Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (verse 17).
  • “One righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” (verse 18).
  • “Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (verse 19).
  • “Grace increased all the more” so that “grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 20-21).

God did all this for us before we were even born. The benefit of what Jesus did so long ago extends to the past, to the present and into the future. Paul says, “how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (verse 10). This shows that salvation is not a one-time event, but an enduring relationship that God has with all humanity—a relationship formed within the person of Jesus Christ, who has brought God and humanity together in peace.

Jesus has not simply done something for us, he has done something with us by including us in his life, death, resurrection and ascension. Paul explains this in Ephesians 2:4-6:

  • When Jesus died, we, in our sinful human nature, died with him.
  • When Jesus rose, we, in our reconciled human nature, rose with him.
  • When Jesus ascended, we, in our redeemed human nature, ascended and became seated with him at the Father’s side.

Everything God has done in Christ shows us the mind, heart and character of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is on the side of his people and all his creation. God is for us, even before we respond to him (verse 5). He has provided reconciliation and eternal life in communion with himself for every human being.